Today we’d like to introduce you to Arlo White.
Arlo, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
All my life… art and music. An obsession, salvation, and provider of inspiration and safe spaces. At times, a much-needed distraction from life. I always knew I was an artist and have practiced and experimented with many forms. I’m also a lifelong music fan; live music has been an integral part of my life since I can remember.
But I was a late bloomer in embracing my identity as an artist and performer. I was into my early 30s before I finally started ignoring the voices in my head, got it together, and had the courage to put myself out there. After my kids were older, I decided it was time. I started volunteering at Boulder’s KGNU as a late-night DJ and creating mixed-media art with any free materials I could find. The flood gates quickly opened, and I wanted to do it all – produce zines and show flyers, perform in bands, record music, make films and videos, develop radio projects, create paintings and collages, and work with any number of cool and interesting artists.
To house my interests under one umbrella, my wife and I founded Hypnotic Turtle, an arts collective that allows us to create, collaborate, and participate. We’ve been producing, performing, and releasing music, creating visual art installations, supporting the local scene, and making radio magic since 2004.
I have a lot of influences. My mind was shaped (warped) by psychedelic trash culture with influences like Sid and Marty Krofft, The Monkees, KISS, and pop art. Later infatuations include the Dr. Demento Radio Show and underground/homemade music via Denver legend, Little Fyodor’s long-running radio program “Under the Floorboards.” The storied histories of music/art from pretty much every recorded music genre, guerilla/street art, and professional wrestling have provided me with endless inspiration. As we started to build Hypnotic Turtle, I pursued as many creative interests as possible. From 2006 to 2017, I formed several bands (Lint! DEADBUBBLES, The Pretty Sure, Sparkle Jetts), produced several albums and local compilations, and put on a music and arts festival (The Denver Truckstop Festival at the now-defunct 3 Kings Tavern).
In 2013, I founded Hypnotic Turtle Radio, a weekly mind-meld of the bizarre and beautiful, on Radio 1190. I joined the Buckingham Squares as frontman for a couple of years and continued to collaborate with a wide variety of people. My words and art have appeared in Next Gallery, Birdy Magazine, Kanon Art Gallery, Core New Art Space, Art Parts Bricolage Gallery, and Broomfield Auditorium Gallery. Before our current crazy world, Hypnotic Turtle was presenting events and partnering with local music promoters and venues. It took me a long time to find my way as an artist, and I’ve done my best to make up for lost time. I’m fortunate to work with an incredible array of creative and talented individuals and organizations in Colorado. Hypnotic Turtle will continue to celebrate the fringe.
Has it been a smooth road?
One of the most challenging obstacles in becoming a full-time artist was my self-doubt and low confidence. Art and music can be very personal and hard to share with others. At first, it was tough to put a fist in the air and rock out on stage even when there was no audience. I overcame my fear by playing as many shows as possible and literally, performing to whoever would listen and wherever I could plug in a microphone. I don’t like “all talk and no action.” Getting out there and just doing it really helped me find my voice and own it. I started making flyers for my band’s shows, and then for friends’ band’s shows. I started creating flyers for my favorite bands coming through town. I found myself in a constant state of creation.
Another struggle has been a financial one. For a long time, I thought I couldn’t afford to be an artist. I’ve always been used to scrounging for resources. For many years, we were raising our kids, my wife was in college, then graduate school, and we worked lots of jobs to make ends meet; I had to be inventive in securing art supplies. I turned to punk rock DIY—recycled cardboard, discount paint, and dumpster finds. Now, I pride myself on incorporating recycled materials as much as possible. Transforming discarded things and giving materials new life is like finding magic in the mundane.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
In 2004, we founded Hypnotic Turtle as a concept to encompass my creative projects. The arts collective has since grown into a busy art factory producing a record label and weekly radio show (in its seventh year on CU Boulder’s Radio 1190); curating art shows; partnering with venues to promote live music; and supporting the local art and music scene.
SOME OF OUR CURRENT PROJECTS: Hypnotic Turtle Radio airs on Thursdays at 9 pm on AM 1190 in the Boulder/Denver area or lives at radio1190.org. Hypnotic Turtle Radio mixes multiple sound sources, infinite music genres, spoken work, and movie dialogue to create something unique for the moment, never to be performed the same way again.
The show has hosted more than 100 special guests from local bands live in the studio (e.g. Slim Cessna, Luna Sol, Dressy Bessy, In the Company of Serpents, ITCHY-O) to national bands and musicians (e.g. Ian Anderson [Jethro Tull], Cherie Currie and Lita Ford [The Runaways], Shonen Knife, Charlie Daniels) to eclectic artists (Crispin Glover, Alex Cox) and collaborations (Mark Mothersbaugh [DEVO]). Hard to Be A Killer: A Tribute to Ralph Gean.
On May 8th, 2020, Hypnotic Turtle Records released Hard To Be A Killer: A Tribute to Ralph Gean, a 15-artist compilation paying tribute to local Denver cult legend, Ralph Gean, the Star Trekkin’ Rock N Roll Cowboy! https://atributetoralphgean.hearnow.com/
Also forthcoming in 2020 – the long-awaited sophomore release from Diablo Montalban, the Master of Audio Disaster (aka my alter ego)!
Hypnotic Turtle DreamBox: The Little Gallery. A box of magic and art hidden in the suburbs of Broomfield, Colorado! The Hypnotic Turtle DreamBox is a “little lending library” that has been transformed into an unexpected art experience. The current exhibition, “Science Fiction,” pays homage to the sci-fi book and magazine covers of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Visitors can walk up and peer inside or drive by and see it from the street. Tune in via car radio to hear the eerie sounds coming from the DreamBox.
“Science Fiction” will be on display through the summer. Lights and sounds from noon to 10 pm daily. The Hypnotic Turtle DreamBox is located at 115 Garnet St., Broomfield, CO 80020 www.facebook.com/hypnoticturtledreambox
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The world is uncertain. Art will always exist, but the ways of consumption will change. Hypnotic Turtle will continue to evolve and explore alternate DIY methods for presenting live art.
- Website: www.hypnoticturtle.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/hypnoticturtle
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/hypnoticturtle
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/hypnoticturtle1
- Other: www.atributetoralphgean.bandcamp.com