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Artist Max Grundy on Sloppy Joes, propoganda and Nirvana

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Artist Max Grundy is a Salt Lake City native who received his MFA from BYU. He currently resides in Los Angeles. His work can be seen at the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll this Friday, June 16, as part of the Rictus-Mortar exhibit at The Unknown Gallery, 353 W. 200 South. The exhibit runs through July 14.

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When did you know you were an artist?

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I guess it all started when I made a face out of a Sloppy Joe sandwich during preschool. My teacher loved it.

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What is the inspiration behind your work?

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My work is influenced by nuclear-era Russian, American, German and Chinese propaganda art. My work tries to diffuse the power media has over our society. Media is a powerful force, using fear as a form of propaganda to control our actions. We are obsessed with images of fear and panic, and I believe the mass media is to blame.

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Do you feel your Utah roots help or hinder your acceptance in the art world?

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A lot of people look at Utah as a novelty right know because of Utah’s popularity in the commercial and entertainment world. I think if anything, being from Utah helps me.

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Listen to music while you paint?

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My favorite band is Clutch, but I love everything from John Denver to System of a Down. I have one Nirvana T-shirt from a concert in Ogden in 1992. When I was 15, Nirvana meant a lot to me.

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Anyone can claim to be an artist. Does this bother you?

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You’re an artist if you believe you are. But artists aren’t more important or unique than anyone else. Being an artist is just another job.

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In one word, describe the difference between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

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Intensity.

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