Background Noise, Episode 54: Evereman / by Matt Valerio

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 54, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST EVEREMAN (above photo by dangerismycat)

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 54, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST EVEREMAN (above photo by dangerismycat)

Atlanta-based artist Evereman stays true to his name. Jay Wiggins, dubbed the “grandfather of the Atlanta free art movement,” by some, describes his alias as something that stands for “art for all of us.” He’s been giving his art away on the streets for some time now. Although he’s been making art for 34 years, long before it was called “street art,” Jay has only been doing art as Evereman since 2003, something that has come to be something of a study of human social interaction. By using magnets, hooks and gravity to hold his work in place, he encourages interaction with his little creations.

It was this approach that initially got my attention a few years ago. On a regular morning walk to the gym, I spotted one of his tiny (approximately 1”x1”) square robotic faces magnetically placed on some scaffolding in the East Village. Naturally, I grabbed it, studied it, and then looked it up as soon as I got back home to find out what “Evereman” meant. I was fascinated to learn that he built his whole aesthetic around giving away and sharing his art. In a world where many artists are out to earn a quick buck, it was very refreshing to learn that someone was doing it out of pure love.  He's said himself "I think of the Evereman project like a 21st century folk song. Take it, use it, add to it, twist and turn it, reconfigure it, pass it along."

Initially, Jay started making his blocks and distributing them with his kid after breakfast. Just a simple, fun, family hobby. It quickly blossomed into something much more than that. At this point, Jay claims to have placed around 30,000 pieces of Evereman art. Who knows if he’ll ever stop. 

photo by mark chernesky

First concert?
Edgar Winter when the song "Frankenstein" was on the radio. Perhaps my first intro to synthesizer sounds. Loved a synth since. I even have a few. 

Last concert?
Flew out to Denver (to check out the landscape there) and see Bob Dylan and His Band.

First album you bought? 
The Beatles -  Revolver

Last album you bought?
Modeselektor - Monkeytown

photo by kevin trotman

photo by kevin trotman

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
A Woody Guthrie record I picked up when I was about 15 years old sealed my fate as an artist and as someone who would seek my own way regardless. 

Who is your musical hero?
Woody Guthrie, hands down

How important is music to your creative process?
I love music, I play music, and I listen pretty much constantly when I am working in my shop. I have been a furniture designer/maker for 25 years. Wood. Started working with steel a couple of years ago. Doing some sculptural work these days. 

Evereman is a musician himself. Check out, Muleskinner MacQueen , his trio of 5 years with Sam McPherson and Naomi Lavender, which he describes as "nothing too polished or fancy."

Check out Evereman's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here And be sure to check out Evereman's website here