PhanArt Founder Discusses Why Art, Music, & Free Pizza Are The Best Ways To Celebrate Phish’s NYE Run

first_imgPhanArt is an incredible organization dedicated to bringing together a community of like-minded artists inspired by their favorite bands. PhanArt’s events have become destination events in their own right at any major stop on Phish tour, serving as the ultimate meet up for traveling phans looking for a place to hang, and providing an awesome cultural experience for all to enjoy. Hardcore art collectors get a huge variety of unique pieces to choose from, as it provides a different, more organized experience for phans that prefer not to peruse art on Shakedown Street in the parking lot.For this year’s Phish New Year’s run, PhanArt has announced that they’ll be putting on two events: one on 12/29 at the Hotel Penn, and one on 12/30 at music venue American Beauty, which will feature music from up-and-coming funk/jam act Formula 5. In anticipation of a busy New Year’s run, I say down with PhanArt’s founder, Pete Mason, to discuss the inspiration behind the event, the future of PhanArt, and what fans can expect at this New Year’s events. See below for a full transcript of our conversation.Live For Live Music: Tell me about the history of PhanArt, what inspired you to put these events together in the first place?Pete Mason: Well, when we were leaving Coventry, there was a lot we were going to miss. One of the things that I was going to miss, especially because I didn’t get too deep into it before the breakup, was the art scene; everyone selling cool homemade shirts and basically all the stuff you wouldn’t see at any other concerts, besides from whatever was going on on Dead Tour before then. So I wanted to see what was out there and strike while the iron was hot after Coventry. So, for the next couple of years, I was like “before you put that art into storage, let’s see what you’ve got”. We got random submissions and then got a few artists on board to help compile everything we could come across from the 1.0 and 2.0 eras of Phish. It was the passion to preserve a unique aspect of the fan base of a unique band.L4LM: In the past few years, PhanArt has seemingly grown into a larger operation, with events at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, and the Hotel Penn in New York. What do you see as the next step for PhanArt?PM: With the way this year has been–there’ve been seven art shows this year, and it just makes me smile, it blows my mind that there was that much going on this year. I look forward to at least a few months off to look forward to the summer. I definitely want to continue to bring together artists whose work is inspired by this genre of music. I’m looking forward to what Dead & Company is doing next year, what Phish may do next year, and some other larger acts as well. I have high hopes to continue to have sustained growth and continue to have these shows in the right towns that Phish does their longer runs at.L4LM: With the New Years Run coming up, there are two PhanArt events planned for New York City. Can you tell me about them?PM: We’re going to have two shows this time. The 29th is going to be much like the show we had on January 2nd of this year, with about two dozen artists at the Hotel Penn on the second floor, right across the street from Madison Square Garden. So we’ll have the full day show go from 12-6. This year we have an option where, if you want to ship some merchandise home, you can order posters right there and we’ll bring it to the hotel mail room and they’ll ship it out. So it’s a nice way to not lug it home or have to fit a piece of art in your suitcase or anything like that, and you won’t have to bring it into the show either.On the 30th, I’ve always tried to have good music at the PhanArt shows to compliment the art. Things finally aligned to have Formula 5 perform at American Beauty. They’ll be on the first floor on the main stage, and upstairs there’ll be a small art show with about 10 artists, with a unique art that you can’t find at our event on the 29th, from artists that won’t be there on the 29th. It’ll be a really cool pre-show vibe, with two bars open in the venue, and free pizza with your drinks. The show will go from 3-7pm, and Formula 5 goes on around 4:00 to play two sets of music. So, it’ll be a perfect spot to pre-game for Phish, it’s a couple blocks from MSG, so you can see some music, grab some drinks, pick up some art and make a day out of it, especially if you can’t make it to the show on the 29th.L4LM: Those shows sound really great, I know everyone is excited for the PhanArt shows during the New Years run. I know you’ve been involved with a ton of other projects in the Phish community outside of PhanArt–you co-wrote a cookbook, you wrote a children’s book for young phans, and there are a lot of other cool projects you’ve been involved in. Do you have anything else like that in the works you can tell me about?PM: There’ll be another children’s book coming in the Spring. I already wrote it, I’m just waiting on part of it to be finished. Between that and running NYS Music day-to-day and teaching, I’m pretty swamped!To learn more about PhanArt and what makes it so special, view the gallery below, which shows just a small portion of the art and people that are involved with this special event series. Be sure to check out PhanArt at The Hotel Penn on 12/29, and don’t miss a very special musical PhanArt event on 12/30 with two sets of music from Formula 5 at American Beauty.All photos submitted by PhanArt and captured by Jake Silco Photography & Kristine Condon Photography. 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