Shoulda Been a Plumber Art Show – Oct ’03

Shoulda Been a Plumber

Shoulda Been a Plumber Art Show
Blue Genie Art
Austin, Texas
October 2003

An exhibition of fresh paintings by some Austin painters who would be making an honest living by now.   Chris Chappell and Michael Schliefke curated the ‘Shoulda Been a Plumber’ show.  The idea for a show of fundamentally strong painters began during the fall of 2002 at the ARTHive, when Chris and Michael expressed a desire to show with a bunch of painters they respected and wanted to show with.

After months of long hours in studio, phone calls and studio visits around town, a lineup of painters emerged, including the veritable Austin institutions of Philip Trussell, Nathan Jensen and Ethan Azarian.

There was a conscious decision made to stay away from conceptual art and remain focused on those that produce art. “Shoulda Been a Plumber” opens at Blue Genie Art on Friday, October 3.  It is a fundamentally strong and visually stunning show of a tight knit group of painters working in Austin, including Ethan Azarian, Chris Chappell, Nathan Jensen, James Perrin, Michael Schliefke and Philip Trussell.  The show brings together a bunch of painters who paint, and aren’t necessarily ready to fall in line and sheepishly follow the latest contemporary trends in the art world.  The individual work varies from artist to artist, but the work possesses certain aims that transcend the individual styles.   The exploration of paint and imagery displays each artists’ dedication to his craft.

Show history

The first group art show put together by Michael Schliefke, ‘Shoulda Been a Plumber’ put a spotlight on Austin painters. Assisted by painter Chris Chappell, the show’s name came during a moment of frustration backed up against show deadlines. A phone call between Michael and Chris included this historically reconstructed exchange:

Michael: “I can’t think of any title for the show, can you?”

Chris: “No, I’m drawing a blank.”

Michael: “That’s it, after this show, I’m done. Enough of being an artist!”

Chris: “Yeah, we shoulda been plumbers…”

Michael: “That’s it! Awesome, let’s do it!”

-September, 2003

The event went off without a hitch and the show title supplemented the artwork in the show and made for a memorable event. With Austin legends Phillip Trussell and Ethan Azarian, a large crowd attended, and every artist sold pieces. The show created a returning customer base and was well received. At the end of the opening, Michael, after promising to never do this again, turned to Chris and said, “You know, I’ve got this idea for a show…”