Deer Bear Wolf the new artistic voice of ATL?
Davy Minor’s latest venture hopes to promote the Atlanta you don’t see
Davy Minor has considered himself an evangelist for Atlanta during the 15 years he’s called the city home. But after six years of running the popular local music blog Ohmpark, Minor called it quits in 2013 and he wasn’t quite sure what he would do next.
“With respect to Atlanta, I have a lot of ideas of projects that I want to try out,” Minor told Creative Loafing’s Crib Notes blog last year. “Instead of being a passive commenter on the scene as I was with Ohmpark, I’d like to play a more active role.”
Fast-forward to September of that same year: Minor started playing with the idea of a one-stop shop to expose, promote, and connect Atlanta’s arts and literary scenes, while also continuing to harbor local musical talent.
As he explained during a recent visit to CL’s office, “I’m at a point where I’m not worried about bitching about things. I want to build something.” In what Minor calls a “kaleidoscope of content of Atlanta artists,” Deer Bear Wolf is that “something” realized in a few different forms.
Like the fragmented artistic creative communities popping up in and around the city, DBW is a collection of different ideas, expressions, and creative minds curated by Minor. Featuring everything from poetry and short stories — Winston Blake Wheeler Ward’s last-man-on-earth tale “The Bang, The Whimper” is fictional dark humor at its finest — to works from ceramicist Katie Troisi and performance photography by Kevin Griggs, DBW is a print nerd’s wet dream. Well, minus the fact that it’s not meant to follow your typical editorial protocol, in that it doesn’t follow any particular theme or comes with “bells and whistles” as Minor puts it. In that sense DBW functions more like a journal collection of creative expression than your typical arts and entertainment publication.
“I wanted to create something that actually had value, something to hold,” Minor says about curating the quarterly publication. “I definitely think there’s a market for that and that’s what I’m trying to explore.”
On top of bringing back some good ol’ magazine nostalgia, DBW’s website features weekly event updates, Deer Bear Wolf Records, and a digital store keeping it in line with the up-to-the-minute world of the Internet. At the end of the day, though, it’s DBW’s print edition that is the best example of Minor’s current thoughts on Atlanta culture, which he says lacks proper curators, with the exception of the team behind Mammal Gallery and the Goat Farm’s co-owner Anthony Harper, for instance.
“I just feel like there’s just so much of this DIY, underground art, and I just don’t think there’s anything that’s completely boosting that,” Minor says regarding the potential void to be filled by the presence of DBW. “There’s nothing that I feel is covering the just local stuff.”
With more than 60 pages of content, DBW also includes interviews with visual artists Molly Rose Freeman (conducted by CL contributor Muriel Vega) and Michelle Armas that aren’t tied to set exhibitions or gallery openings. The content in DBW is meant to stand alone, Minor says, while bringing more than just attention to the contributors. “The whole point of this project is to try and find a way, not only to connect everybody, but to make money for artists, musicians, and writers,” he says.
Minor’s paid everyone involved in the production of DBW’s first issue and has already collected the majority of the content for the second edition, the cover of which was designed by the Back Pockets’ Emily Kempf. He says the heart of the project is the online retail store where folks can purchase local indie records, zines, prints from artists, written works by various authors, and more.
“Atlanta’s sort of the poster child for arts and culture in America,” Minor says, explaining why uncovering every creative nook and cranny can be a daunting task. “If you’re just some random person who is not immersed in the scene and you’re interested in what’s going on it can be a little difficult to grasp what’s happening.”
If Minor has his say, grabbing a copy of DBW will become an ideal place to start.