Is local treasure Bob Moss is quitting music to focus on art? “I’m not quitting music,” he says. “It’s just that my solo acoustic stuff isn’t really suited to the clubs—they want rock bands.”
Well, Moss’ status is as much due to his farout folk art as his banjo instrumentals, trippy odes to NyQuil and folksy renditions of Sinatra, Beatles and Tom Rapp tunes. He’s created paintings, glittery woodburnings and gourds for many years, often showing them at the Beehive Tea Room, the Blue Plate Café and the Utah Arts Festival. A growing contingent of Moss collectors has helped ratchet up the prices, too. Paintings that once sold for $50-200 now command up to $350. Moss delights in this, frequently declaring, “My stuff’s goin’ up!” Moss’ work straddles the styles of Mekons/ Waco Brothers frontguy Jon Langford’s folk art and the outsider art of Daniel Johnston and Wesley Willis. And like Johnston with his favorite subjects—Captain America, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Jesus and/or Satan—Moss has his pet muses. Cartoon monsters, Beehive State legends and landmarks (Everett Ruess, Gilgal Gardens), spanking scenes, B-movie posters, and celebs like Sinatra, Elvis and an array of 1960s folk musicians are framed by squiggly grooves and cryptic sayings written in the Deseret Alphabet.
Throughout February, Moss will have “over 70 paintings” hanging at the Rio Grande Café. Stop by for a burrito, but bring extra cash. It’s hard to resist a Moss original. (Randy Harward)
Bob Moss Art Show @ Rio Grande Café, 270 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, 801-364- 3302, through February.