by Kalien McLeavy
In today’s poor economy, you might expect the general lack of disposable income would discourage artists and musicians, forcing them into “real jobs” and leaving them with no time to do what they love. Here in Jacksonville, our artists seem not only unconcerned by whether or not the economy hinders their art production, but encouraged to create more than ever before in unconventional and innovative ways.
One group of undiscouraged artists are making the best of the faltering economy by taking advantage of cheap rent and establishing an art collective off of Jacksonville’s beaten path. From the outside, 8B is a generic warehouse in the shadow of the Matthew’s Bridge on an unfrequented side-street in the Tallyrand port district. But inside are some of the most avid pioneers of art in our great city. Inside we meet Clay Doran, Chad Coble and Joey Temptation, three artists with their own unique style and medium.
“We all use the space a little differently,” says Clay. “I paint monsters for Squid Dust and I beat up/destroy/paint abstract paintings under my real name. Chad Coble builds crazy sculptures out of railroad spikes, wood, sheet metal and anything else he can morph into a lamp or wall fixture. And Joey Temptation prints t-shirts and paints a wide range of psychos.” In the last month, Clay’s focus has been on drawing up t-shirt designs for a couple of our beloved local bands including Buff Clout and Chicken & Whiskey as well as working on pieces for the AIGA Toy Show that was on December 2nd at 229 Hogan. Joey has been printing shirts and painting vintage looking animals while Chad has a giant wire hanger structure in the making.
As far as gallery space, a warehouse may seem like a bizarre choice but for the tenants of 8B, it beats the alternative. “I had been painting in my bedroom, living room and garage for too long,” Clay says. “It’s just a bonus that we can have shows and create a space where almost anything goes.” Being away from the distractions of home and not having to worry about spilt paint surely assists in the creation of the “lowbrow” art coming out of 8B. Now equipped with large rolling walls, the space can be transformed from a production spot into a gallery or music venue in mere minutes.
While most artists tend to prefer solitude when painting, they’re missing out on the creative energy and the sense of community that comes with working alongside your peers. “Brainstorming projects with someone from a different perspective really helps you come up with original ideas that probably would never happen if you were just stoned in a bedroom trying to think of something to paint,” explains Clay. “The access to knowledge of different tools and mediums really encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and create new exciting work.” The enthusiasm and creativity that these three artists possess is apparent both in their work and in the productions they put on.
Up until now, they’ve only been host to live music performances, but they’ve scheduled their first art show for January 22nd. So to all you art devotees, I suggest you keep 8B on your radar and expect nothing less than excitement from what comes out of this spot.


april, 2022