We got an invitation to something called a "Happening" tonight, which claims to offer a "sincere, sometimes lunatic, one-off ephemeral experience." Wow, thanks for elucidating. We would normally ignore stuff that seemed like it was trying very hard to be mysterious about a thing that has got to be an excuse to get drunk and find someone to make out with, but that doesn't make art, music, and alcohol a bad combo. It's just much easier when you call things by their name. The art in this Happening was good so we tracked down Ditte Gantriis, who's hosting the night with her friend Seth Carnes (he plays music as [sic]), to see if we could find out what the hell this whole thing was actually about.
Vice: With a name like Ditte Gantriis, I take it you're not from New York. Where did you grow up?
Ditte Gantriis: I grew up in Denmark, in the suburbs outside Copenhagen. We moved around a lot when I was child, different cities, different schools, etc.
Are you from an arty family?
Yeah, it definitely runs in the family. My mom's an illustrator--quite well known in Denmark--and so was my granddad. Most of my family is creative in some way: music, design, and art. Some of my earliest memories are sitting next to my mom drawing, her working on her illustrations and me drawing kids' stuff and big hairy-legged spiders.
Cute. Why did you leave for New York and what are you up to here?
I like New York! I've been back and forth for a while now and am planning on staying here on a more permanent basis. What I like about NYC is the fact that everything can happen. I mean not that it does or has to, but the possibility is there. You never know what's waiting around the next corner. There is a high level of energy here. The diversity. People are always interested in something new. In terms of producing art, you have less time here and things are more cutthroat. You have to rely on your instinct and be productive. To always keep working and moving and put yourself out there. I like that but I also like stupid little things like the fact that shops are always open and stuff like that.
Are you a poor struggling artist we should feel sorry for?
NO, don't feel sorry for me, but yes I am a poor struggling artist. But it's my own choice, so no pity please.
None given. What interests you besides drawing hooded freaks with nailed eyes?
Well drawing hooded freaks with nailed eyes does interest me a lot! Other than that, the classic boring stuff: my friends, comics, contemporary art, design, crazy people, and traveling. I love horror movies, body horror. Yesterday I watched an old Cronenberg movie called Shivers, it's so fucking great!! LOVE stuff like that. And also I have a thing with candy wrapping. In my next life, I want to design candy wrapping.
Some of your drawings remind me of graffiti pieces. Have you ever done graffiti?
Really? Do they? Never heard that before. That's interesting! No, I've never done graffiti.
Well, maybe just the one with the nail in the eye. OK, I'll try with another poor observation. It seems you really like black and white. What's wrong with a big mix of colors?
I have a huge craving for ink. It's like a physical need or something. I love colors though. There's nothing wrong with colors. I can get a lot from colors, but that doesn't mean I want to use them in my work the same way as I see them.
What's tonight's Happening going to offer?
Tonight's Happening is an event series that mixes art, music and space into the social fabric of the moment.
I'm still just as confused as ever, but I actually don't mind.
SIGURD KONGSHØJ LARSEN