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Meet John Coulter of Sharks Eat Meat in Melrose | Fairfax District

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Coulter.

John, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Kansas City, MO and have always been fascinated with animation. I thought the best animations had detailed paintings and stellar music which motivated me to learn to paint and play music early on. About ten years ago, I completed my MFA in painting and started several projects which are still going today. I’m the curator and manager of an international art collective called SharksEatMeat, which features new contemporary art from emerging artists daily. SharksEatMeat additionally has regular art reviews, art theory, gallery visit videos, and educational documentaries. I have also been in a cumbia band “Los Coulters” with my brother Mark for the past ten years. Performing and recording music regularly has given me the opportunity to direct and animate lots of music video projects both painted and digital. The whole time I’ve curated Sharks and managed the band I’ve had a lot of odd jobs in the arts, some short gigs and some lasting years, from photo and video editing to managing art studios.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road through the art world is not very smooth, linear or traditional. Some of the successes I’ve had are totally unexpected and some of the projects I’ve spent the most time on and put the most passion into haven’t gone as far as I’d personally liked them to have. I think it’s important to be patient and flexible and stay active and involved in a lot of projects. Things beyond your control can change suddenly, or you may need to replace a team member last minute, so staying involved with lots of artists can help fill those gaps when there’s a need.

Sharks Eat Meat – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
SharksEatMeat started as a small group mostly out of Kansas City and Atlanta but quickly expanded to an international roster of over 150 artists. We’re known for featuring new art from young emerging artists every day. Compared to other daily art and social media sites that mostly only show historic or famous contemporary artists to maintain their daily quota – SharksEatMeat never has, and instead has always relied on working with local independent artists through curation and submission. A lot of my time is spent researching new artists, coding websites, and scheduling social media. The more fun parts are definitely making videos and interviewing artists. Our group shows in NYC and video documentaries such as “Culture Jam” are some of the collectives’ biggest successes. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with some really wonderful artists through the collective such as La Mera Candelaria, Making Movies, Los Cumpleaños, Spaghetti Cumbia, Alea, Vikki Chu, Trevor Hawkins, and so many more.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Two obvious criteria for defining success are: one, reaching a target audience or getting a reaction and recognition for your work, and two, making a profit or profession from your craft. In the end, it’s often true that neither of those are very personally rewarding, and my focus is usually on my own personal goals being reached during a project as a measure of success. When I have pushed myself to do my best work, put in extra hours and extra details, or worked with a story that has an important message, I would consider the project to be successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
John Coulter, Mark Coulter

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