The Locomotive Explosive Interview
In 2013, an enthusiastic trio of close friends came together to establish what is now fondly known as The Locomotive Explosive. The Pittsburgh-based art collective – which includes members Tom Brown, Kara Zuzu and Kyle Anthony Adams – has created multiple installations at venues throughout the city; from social functions, to special event locations, and galleries such as The Rocking Horse Artspace and Wood Street Galleries.
Since their inception, the group has continued to strive to create works of art that entertain and evoke energetic feelings from their audience. In the past year, they were selected as the resident art installation group for the bi-monthly Pittsburgh branch of RAW: Natural Born Artists, an internationally recognized artist showcase.
Now, the Locomotive Explosive has taken up residency in upper Lawrenceville’s Spirit Lodge, where they will hold monthly installations on the first Saturday of each month.
The group is prepping for the second edition of their Locomotive Explosive showcase at Spirit on July 4, and recently, we got the chance to chat with members about their histories, experiences, and what’s to come. Check it out below:
Nak You Out: How did the Locomotive Explosive originally get started?
The Locomotive Explosive: The project began in 2013 when Kara was introduced to the already established installation artists, Kyle Anthony Adams and Tom Brown. The creative chemistry clicked immediately, and Kara was asked to participate in two installation art shows at the Rocking Horse Artspace. After the close of Rocking Horse, the group decided to continue to pursue their passion for installation art, knowing they had something special, and soon became resident installation artists at RAW and Spirit.
NYO: Do each of you have an art background and history of your own? What are the artistic strengths of each of the group members?
TLE: Each of us add value to the group because we all come from various artistic backgrounds. Kara Zuzu is an artist and an experienced art teacher. Her main artistic passion is drawing, painting and sculptural art. She loves being part of an art collective because it allows her to push her artistic skills beyond how she works as an individual. Kara loves to build and sculpt, and the Locomotive Explosive allows her to extend her creative passions. Tom Brown is an internationally recognized glass blower and sculptor. His continuing studies and teachings of his craft have helped refine his skills through multiple medias, such as glass, metalworking and lighting. Tom uses all of his experiences to work out ideas and problem solving for each installation. And Kyle Anthony Adams is an artist and experienced graphic designer/web developer. His artistic focus is mainly video art, painting and printmaking.
NYO: How do you balance roles/work in the group?
TLE: What’s great about our collective is that we all bring a different skillset to the group. We understand that being working artists takes more than just making artwork, so we’ve designated various roles to ensure proper media coverage and awareness, managing finances, and safety of our installations. We work towards our strengths to ensure we are creating the best installation to our ability. Working together artistically is actually the easy part.
NYO: How do you plan and blueprint your installations?
TLE: We create installations that stand out and attempt to consume the viewer. We aim to create installations that are comprised of one central theme that we elaborate on with the use of light, movement, mediums and various textures. Our installations have a Pop Art feel that we believe makes our artwork both exciting and relatable to viewers. The Locomotive Explosive wants people to walk away unable to forget the experience created. Whether it resonates emotionally or superficially, we strive to build something that is accessible to all types of art connoisseurs and audiences.
TLE: Yes, music is a key component within our installations, specifically because Tom Brown is also a DJ who has held multiple musical residencies throughout Pittsburgh over the past decade. Particularly at our Spirit installation, the music helps to bring the “fun” and “energetic” vibe we aim to implement within all of our installation artwork.
NYO: What are your future plans for the Locomotive Explosive collective?
TLE: We are looking to expand our installations to multiple venues in Pittsburgh, and hopefully outside of the state. We’re also looking to create one-of-a-kind installations, not only for our patrons at Spirit, but for other events in the city. We love to create, and we want to continue to grow and develop to become even better installation artists.
NYO: What is your favorite installation your group created?
TLE: Mecca Cat. Mecca Cat was this colossal cat sculpture we created; it was estimated to be at about seven feet high, and nearly 12 feet long (pictured above right). It was epic!
You can catch the next Locomotive Explosive installation, LA-LA-Land, at Spirit on Saturday, July 4 at 10PM. The group, along with Spirit, will be throwing a Fourth of July shindig featuring DJ Rob Grega (Up All Night – San Francisco) and TLE’s Tom Brown on the decks, free samples of classic American lagers and crafts from Narragansett, and a complimentary cookout, which will include BBQ pulled pork and a pig roast.
For this month’s install, expect to be surrounded by sky lanterns, floating lights, and groups of friends getting lifted for the Fourth. Come early, grub out, sample free brews, and meet the crew!