Squonk has created and toured our outdoor spectacles around the world, with reviews that include “insane majesty" from The Scotsman, “surreal and poetic” from USA Today and “ingenious, hallucinatory, hypnotic" from The New York Times. Squonkwork is fast, funny, and shameless: our first show was performed in a Pittsburgh junkyard, with choreographed cranes and roaring earthmovers. Squonk creates post-industrial outdoor performances for major civic venues and festivals and have toured to 39 states and 3 continents, and have received 7 N.E.A. grants.
Jackie Dempsey (Artistic Director/Composer/Pianist/Accordionist) has created twelve multimedia productions with Squonk Opera and has been touring nationally and internationally for over two decades. Last year, she was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments. She has worked as composer and sound designer for Quantum Theatre through a Heinz Endowments’ Creative Heights grant and has been awarded five Interdisciplinary Arts fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts. She has produced all nine of the group’s recordings, one of which was Squonk’s major label debut for Capitol Records.
Steve O’Hearn (Artistic Director/Artist/Wind Player) contributes environmental and product designs, and theater productions to the group. He had a solo show of work at the Andy Warhol Museum, where he was Heinz Artist-in-Residence. He has also received the American Theater Wing’s Hewes Award for his work on Broadway, three International Design Awards and five PA Council on the Arts fellowships. His work has been published and exhibited internationally, and he has been invited three times to exhibit his designs at the Prague Quadrennial. He has designed for a score of theater productions, including the multimedia Macbeth with the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Marc Masterson, and also for the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu.
Sqonk’s Challenge; See the art in the everyday.
Connect with Sqonk
If you liked this interview, check out episode 124 with Baron Batch where we discuss the melding of art and entrepreneurship.
Radiant Hall founder Ryan Lammie was born in Pittsburgh and educated at the Pratt Institute in New York. In 2011 he was selected for the Yale / Norfolk Summer Residency in Connecticut and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Lammie’s sculptural work, often assembled from found materials (discarded furniture, old radios, and the like), is driven by two tendencies in tension with one another: a skepticism of exchange value and a love of maximalism.
As an entrepreneur, Lammie has built Radiant Hall into a nonprofit venture that supports over 50 Pittsburgh artists at four locations city-wide. He is also a creative consultant at the new Energy Innovation Center, overseeing design projects that support the EIC’s social and educational goals.
Ryan’s Challenge; Go out of your way to meet a new artist or reconnect with an artist you already know. Unpack their process.
Connect with Ryan
If you liked this interview, check out episode 124 with Baron Batch where we discuss art, entrepreneurship, and the creative process.
Baron Batch is a cultural icon, community builder, dot connector, conceptual multimedia artist, and entrepreneur based out of Homestead, PA. He rose to fame through his street art and currently serves as Creative Director of Studio AM.
Studio AM is a multi-faceted creative collective that specializes in guerilla marketing, unique private events, and is a production facility for his “Angry Man Salsa”. He has an extensive background in public speaking is a graduate of Texas Tech.
Baron’s Challenge; Practice Stoicism. (Aaron's note; you can read this to learn more)
Connect with Baron
If you liked this interview, check out episode 114 with Dan Bull where we discuss giving inmates a second chance through entrepreneurship.