Sowing the seeds of dreams
They are young people, easily under 30. Passionate and articulate, they each answer questions seriously but not pretentiously. Humor and compassion also feature prominently in their responses, individually phrased yet united in purpose.
They call themselves The Collective.
The Collective is a recently formed group of young artists in the Chico community who are planning what can only be described as a night of marvels, an evening of dreamlike images, sounds and ideas, to take place on the stage of the Senator Theater. There will be paintings and sculpture, as well as video works and sonic experiments. Also, there are plays and dance pieces. Even the live music planned for the evening is fairly surreal. As a result, the entire event has been dubbed Dream Farm. And what the group hopes to cultivate is inspiration.
At the heart of The Collective are Christina Seashore, John Cummins and Jessica Efstratis. The trio dropped by the News & Review offices recently to discuss its upcoming project and why it selected the particular bands providing the music that evening.
The Collective formed as a result of a perceived need for a support group for young artists living in the Chico community, explains co-founder Seashore, a wiry 20-something with light brown hair. She says The Collective really began coming together when she moved back to Chico from the East Coast last fall. “I keep coming back to Chico for some reason,” she quips. Seashore had a very enlightening experience in New York as part of an artists’ collective there.
“With my experience in New York,” she says, “with the collective [there], one of the things was to come together weekly to provide support for one another. It’s really hard to be out of school and try to continue creating.”
Jessica Efstratis, thin, dark-haired and another co-founder of The Collective, agrees. “Once you’re out [of school],” she says, “it’s like, ‘Now what?'” After Seashore returned to Chico, Efstratis convinced her to attempt forming an artists’ collective here. She explains that what the group provides is inspiration and opportunities for collaboration. “You can do art, and you can be successful,” she states. “And you don’t have to compromise yourself. We’re trying to create some way of slightly marketing ourselves. That’s the major discussion amongst us all: How can that happen and not compromise ourselves.”
One way to do that, the group feels, is by presenting itself to the rest of the Chico community. It plans on doing just that with its Dream Farm multi-media event.
“All of the bands involved are experimental,” Efstratis says, explaining The Collective’s live music choices for the show. “[Santa Cruz’s] Roots of Orchis use a lot of electronic media and also a DJ.”
John Cummins, a bearded, dark-haired young man and third member of the trio, concurs. “Their music is definitely very experimental, especially lately.”
Also on the bill will be relocated-to-Oakland former Chico residents Experimental Dental School. Once better known as Meyow, the group, Efstratis says, “has always pushed the boundaries of music. And Robots Hate Cowboys [the third band of the evening and locals], if you heard their CD, you wouldn’t think it’s just a bassist and a drummer. Their music is so full. They’re just amazing musicians. They need to be seen.”
In addition to the music, there will be original dramatic pieces, one of which is scripted by local actress, playwright and puppeteer Haley Hughes. It will be Hughes’ farewell Chico performance, as she is moving to New York City.
More than anything else, The Collective hopes to inspire the community.
“I think it’s important for the community to support art here,” states Efstratis. “I really feel that if the community and the artists could come together more, Chico would be happier in general.”
Dream Farm occurs Saturday, May 18, at the Senator, 517 Main St. Admission: $5; $1 off with a nonperishable food donation (vegetarian) to Food Not Bombs at the door.