A few steps away down the hall, graphic designer Kat Lamp sits behind an L-shaped desk. Two monitors sit before her, which she uses to make most of her work. Lamp has designed concert posters for such acts as Andrew Bird and the Avett Brothers, and copies hang in frames on the wall to her right. Under the glow of a bright lamp, she leans over an old photo of a man from the 1800s, painting psychedelic colors across the bleak face and gray background. A stack of similar photographs lay beside her, all waiting to be a part of her latest project titled “Room Noodles.”
“The name comes from an ’80s cartoon short I liked when I was a kid,” Lamp said. “I started this series shortly after the [presidential] inauguration as a means to channel my depression and outrage into something meditative and fun. The ‘Room Noodles’ cartoon felt like the appropriate metaphor for the process of creating the paintings.”
In the cartoon, the room noodles would visit frightened children during the night and bind up, tickle and banish the monsters in their rooms.
Music drifts from down the hall and in through the open door, emanating from the large room that hosts three other artists, including Ian Dennis, Tony Fonda and Shawn Peters. Just below the electronic music, the thumping needle of Ian Dennis’ sewing machine vibrates through the old floors. Dennis designs stuffed creations — animals, monsters and science-fiction characters — some of which hang on the walls surrounding him. A stack of fabrics and stuffing lay close at hand on a table, among desks full of completed creations that will be sent out after a few final details.
On every floor, across every square foot of Electric Pyramid, art is being created. While some of the artists seem to have gained more success and have since quit their nine-to-five jobs to pursue art full-time, any animosity or tension seems to be non-existent.
“Doing art full time is the dream,” Hopkins said. “I do have another job, but it’s nice to come and go here as I please.”
“A lot of us do work outside of here as well,” Dennis agreed. “We’re all always creating, whether it be in here or out in the community.”
Distraction seems as if it would pose a great problem with studios in such close proximity to each other, but the relationships among the artists at Electric Pyramid have grown deep enough to prevent friction.
“When I had my space at the Krankies location, it was a lot harder to get things done I think,” Dennis said. “I would be walking through the coffeeshop carrying a 9-foot-tall stuffed robot to my studio and everyone would sort of just stop and stare. It would almost make me a little embarrassed, that feeling of being judged or something. But here, everyone is doing something. No one is put off by the weird things we all do.”
An open community can be helpful at times, though Lamp’s new studio upstairs provides her with a larger space where she can take comfort in the new addition of a door and the ability for intense focus and privacy when needed.