Yes, this year is coming to a close and Spiderweb Salon has been taking a little bit of time post-Spiderdead (because we all probably needed a breather after that one) to bask in the glow of all the adventures and experiments we’ve had this year as a collective. Over fifteen showcases, thousands of zines, a whole bunch of workshops, awesome recordings, radio play (& KERA/The Texas Standard thought we were cool!), and even a couple of road trips! It’s kind of amazing that this all started at a house show in a backyard on a whim all those years ago (or to be more specific, a checker-floored kitchen on West College Street, but more on that later). Anyway, during all this sentimental reflection we realized we’ve neglected to introduce you to the two people who started it all, even though we’ve taken it upon ourselves to feature nearly fifty of our favorite artists, writers, and musicians this year (and there’s so many more!). So before 2018 is officially over, we’re going to introduce you to the work and talents of our beloved Spiderfounders, today starting with someone who means a whole lot to us: our dear Conor Wallace, a prolific supporter of his fellow artists and ever-vigilant songwriter, musician, producer, sound engineer, and creative mind.
Conor loves your creativity. Or rather, Conor loves that you are creating, that you’re letting yourself be yourself, that you are trying something new. In the summer of 2012, Spiderweb Salon was founded by Denton-based [artists, writers, musicians, creators, dreamers] courtney marie and Conor Wallace with the hope of creating a place where the usual expectations and norms of an art show / reading / play / music showcase / [insert arts pop-up title here] disappeared; where the preconceived notions of what it means to be an artist ceased to exist. A place void of pretentiousness and competition and perfection. Where a new voice could be celebrated, a different kind of song heard. Of course, it was more or less just a regular old house show, but wrapped up inside it were the intentions to create a space where artists were acknowledged and supported no matter where they were on their journey, a space where people could speak their minds and feel their feelings, a space where everyone was encouraged to transform and create and be, where we could make new friends and learn to love ourselves and each other a little better. Connection: this has truly been a driving force in the art and life of Conor Wallace.
Since he’s Denton born & bred and has been playing in town as a musician for longer than any of us can remember, you may recognize Conor as the leader singer and guitarist in projects like Ella Minnow, Forever & Everest, and Friday Mean, but these days he also jams with J. Allert (check out the show this weekend with Megan Storie + Skagg Philips!) and recently played a full set with many of the folks from A.M. Ramblers in a project dubbed Connie & the Moonlighters. Conor is also part of a synthy electronic duo with musical bestie Corbin Childs (owner of Shiny Sound Recording Studio and producer of Spiderweb’s Songwriting Scholarship), tenderly named Pros & Cons.
If you’ve been around Spiderweb long enough, you may recall Conor’s stint as the reanimated corpse of a fictional Elton John impersonator, or his collaborations across mediums and instruments in various showcases (fun fact, The Electronic Experiments are held on his birthday, which also happens to be Pi day!). He records and produces everything for our On the Air project (where we record poets for radio play on our fave station KUZU 92.9fm) from his home studio, helps book showcases, contributes to the occasional zine, and is the organizing force behind Spiderweb Salon’s Songwriting Scholarship project.
Though he has a tendency to stay behind-the-scenes, ensuring everything at our showcases runs smoothly and sounds its best, Conor has also shared dozens of original songs with us over the years. In the spirit of constant creation and connection, many of these were written just for Spiderweb, whether solo or in collaboration/conversation with other artists, and in 2016 he recorded a full album titled Friday Mean (is it because Friday is always the most anxiety-inducing crunch night before a big Saturday showcase? WHO KNOWS! But it’s okay to feel anxious before a show, any show (or being in public at all!)- almost all of us do!). Friday Mean is a collection of these songs written especially for the people Conor loves best and for Spiderweb, which are often one in the same. To celebrate all this and the finale of an interesting year, give it a listen today and please also enjoy Conor’s most recent Twitter musings-as-manifesto. Appreciate someone’s heart/art today. Tell your friends you love them. Spiderweb Salon loves you.
The artist has a need to create just as they have a need to eat,
but society tells the artist that they are worthless until
they are recognized widely and appraised highly by a/The Elite.
It is implied your art is worthless without recognition or celebrity.
You are either a cultural icon or your expression is juvenile, delusional.
It is advised that if you are going to chase your inspiration
You need to chase The Money or you need to be championed and
Monetized or exploited by someone who is of The Money.
They poison you so even if you reject this definition / value of art
You are still concerned by the brand, the audience, the sale, the promotion.
The artist begins to feel like a failure if they are not seen by The Money.
I believe there can be joy and satisfaction in pursuing all these things,
Even the business of art, but it’s not for all artists and creators,
It doesn’t show the true value of the art.
Talk with your friends and your family about what you create.
Talk to other artists.
Increase the language, the value, the awareness of art.
Create something for your local community to interact with.
Sing to them. Write to them. Perform for them.
Challenge them. Love them. Inspire them.
Creation is for ourselves, for each other, for our communities, for our world.
If you happen to get The Money, take The Money.
If you don’t get The Money stay hungry and creative and adventurous.
Illuminate the small spaces with your humanity and your art.
Help elevate us all.