Q+A With Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley

Crawley (right) and Owens (left) in their Fuck 2020 shirt. Photos by Leo Soyfer.

Artist Quincy Owens and science teacher Luke Crawley have a complementary partnership. To the point where in 2020 they created an ornament to commemorate the disastrous year. 

The ornament was one of many artistic collaborations between the two, however, the decoration which read “Fuck 2020,” was the most profane. 

Longtime friend of Owens was filmmaker Paul Nethercott, who took special interest in the verbally graphic ornament and approached the pair about a possible film. 

Nethercott reached out to Owens and Crawley after they had posted an ornament based on commemorative glasses — reminiscent of the McDonalds and Burger King tradition from their childhoods. For 2020, the pair didn’t want to make an Owens and Crawley style ornament — they wanted to make a statement. So the “Fuck 2020” ornament was born. Nethercott saw the success and told the duo ‘I think there’s a film in here. You guys have been so resilient through the year, you’ve stayed busy, I see something here.’

Curren Gauss: Can you briefly explain what the film is going to be about? 

Quincy Owens: One of two things is going to happen when the film gets made, if it gets made. It’s either going to be about our 2021 and how we did say fuck 2020, or it’s going to be Paul’s background. He grew up in a very puritanical home, he’s edited the title — he loved the idea of pushing his comfort level. You’ll see in the kickstarter video he struggled to say “Fuck 2020” on film. He’s doing it to push himself out of this conservative background, he said it’s both ‘the sacred and the profane,’ because it’s this thing that says “Fuck 2020,” which is profane and you put it on your Christmas tree, which is sacred. 

Luke Crawley: I’m a little bit in the middle of that “profane spectrum,” not conservative but probably wouldn’t have a “Fuck 2020” ornament on my tree either. I got the clear one and stuck it in the middle. It’s a good teaching opportunity because it’s only got power because we put power on it and you know you’re gonna say it you just have to learn how and where and when to say it. 

Gauss: Would you say the pandemic has affected your lives as artists more than you thought it would? 

Crawley: Well professionally it was a really good year for us actually. Fortunate for us a lot of the public art stuff we do was tied into construction budgets that had already been set a couple years in advance, that industry didn’t seem to slow down or shut down as much. I think last year really hurt primarily gallery based artists a lot more than us, and we didn’t get to do as much stuff as we normally do on that side of things. But in terms of our public art world it was pretty good.

Owens: It was a banner year for us. But our 2020 really started in 2019, we did a big project in Carmel that ate a lot of money for us, Luke started to go through a divorce, life was hard. 2020 was a new year that started out with a lot of projects and then the pandemic started.

Gauss: In your “About” section of your website, you describe your art as complementary to each other. How did this pair come about, how does a teacher start working with an artist? 

Owens: Hey, I was a teacher too!

Crawley: Yeah we both taught at Herron high school and actually I’ve got a larger musical background so that’s kinda where the first collaboration happened. He was doing a sculpture out of a deconstructed piano, wanted to do some audio stuff with it and knew that I dabbled a little bit in that so that was kind of the first thing. We had some sort of cross-curricular things going on with what I was doing in physics and what he was doing in sculpture. We did that project and played well together and had fun and there was a call out for something that specifically had to integrate science and art —  

Owens: I was like this has got our name all over it, we’re gonna win this. It was this big thing at the arts garden and we were sitting there with our wives and I think we both said “shit” because we didn’t think we’d get it, and we got it and we just kept on going after that. 

Crawley: It was just like a little snowball. 

Owens: I mean we are polar opposites in some really interesting ways that we can still work together really well. 

Gauss: You guys have talked a lot about how you love working together, why is that? 

Owens: He puts up with my shit.
Crawley: Yeah… I think first and foremost we share the same aesthetic, we like the same stuff. But number one it’s fun, and we both understand that either one of us is going to make a mistake at some point and so we just roll with it and fix it and laugh about it instead of getting all bent out of shape. We can bounce around and help each other out. 

Owens: It’s been pretty wild how our skillsets line up instead of overlap. Especially in the beginning, Luke had a fantastic understanding of science, math, acoustics, music, electronics and I had more of the art and aesthetic background. 

Gauss: What do you two hope the film will really be about? What will Fu** 2020 really be about at its core?

Crawley: Gosh I don’t know, there’s so much that happened, you know? There was so much going on in both of our personal lives and then politically and then socially, so I don’t know. I’m kind of along for the ride on this one, I’m trusting Paul. 

Owens: Well I don’t think he knows where the film’s gonna go either. I told Paul ‘I hope you’re filming at the kickstarter parties,’ because maybe the movie ends up being the story of trying to get the funding to make the movie. 

Gauss: Why should people donate to the kickstarter and support this story? Besides funding of course. 

Owens: That’s the only reason. 

Crawley: No, no I mean I think it’s important to support your own community and it’s important to support artists and journalists and I think that can come in a variety of ways and this is just one more way to have a small piece of a larger project. Like yeah you can’t donate fifty thousand dollars to this but you can buy a coaster for fifteen bucks and help chip away at a much bigger thing that is supporting a local filmmaker and a couple local artists. 

Owens: Yeah and we’ve been very intentional on reaching out to people. Like everyone, if the kickstarter hits its goal will be monetarily compensated. One thing that I think we are always trying to do is carry people alongside us. It’s… well I can’t call it the trickle down effect because that’s Reaganomics but — 

Crawley: A rising tide lifts all boats. 

Owens: Yes! Thank you, yes. If people support the film it’s not just us, it’s the residuals for the art community. A lot of the materials we get will be local so everything we do we try to help local, and if that’s the selling point people need I think it’s a great one. 

The first of three kickstarter campaign parties was held on May 29. Click here to donate to the film’s kickstarter. As of now, the kickstarter has raised $13,000 of their $25,000 goal and has only a month left to go. The film will not be moving forward with production if the fundraising goal is not reached by June 28.

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