Words by: Duke DuRock
For those that don’t know, The Do LaB’s dear friend Brent “Shrine” Spears was recently in a very serious car accident. Through the generous help of recent donations via a blog that was started in Shrine’s name, he was able to have successful facial surgery but still faces significant medical expenses.
We want to further raise awareness in helping our friend who has selflessly given so much of himself and his creative talents to so many. Read our interview with a few of Shrine’s closest friends and collaborators and take a look at photos of some of his work below.
For years, the acclaimed self-taught artist and “father” of Lucent Dossier Experience has touched countless people from all over the world through his incredible interactive murals and art installations at festivals like Burning Man and our own Lightning in a Bottle (LIB).
“Shrine’s paintbrush has touched so many suitcases, shoes, doors, windows, cars and walls for years,” said Monica Fernandez, a longtime producer for The Do LaB, who has been integral in organizing efforts to help and originally met Shrine when the two performed at the very first Lucent Dossier Experience show. “His aesthetic is pervasive and the personality and soul that makes him up as a man goes even farther. He authentically cares for each person he connects with and takes time for everyone. An experience with Shrine is one that is deep. It makes your heart swell and sometimes pound.”
“He has been my adviser for the past nine-plus years,” added Dream Rockwell, one of Shrine’s closest friends and founder of Lucent Dossier Experience, who recently donated all proceeds from their recent shows at the Palace Theater to help with medical expenses. “He can’t help but proliferate. So anyone in his wake learns from him. So he has affected Lucent and the Do LaB in that, in being so close to him, his energy, values and ideals rub off on you. He’s a gift to the world. He’s the real deal.”
Through his larger-than-life personality, giving spirit and conscious, eco-friendly creativity, Shrine has become a beloved figure in our artistic community. He’s also been a key contributor to The Do LaB and memorable performer in the Lucent Dossier Experience since the group’s inception.
“Shrine has always been an inspiration to The Do LaB and Lucent Dossier crews,” explained Josh Flemming, a close friend and one of the founding members of The Do LaB. “Everything Shrine touches turns into art. It’s amazing. He has helped me realize the artist inside myself and made me feel comfortable exploring my art and expressing myself.”
“His art is important to individuals, communities and cultures worldwide,” added Fernandez.
When first meeting Shrine it’s easy to become instantly enamored and you will never forget your first adventure with him, whether it is through his moving art or simply sharing a laugh. His ability to connect with people from all walks of life is uncanny and his compassion for others unparalleled.
“The moment I first saw him, I knew he was going to be important in my life,” recalled Rockwell. “He was working in my back yard, doing a waterfall art project for Burning Man. I proceeded to ignore him like I often do to people who feel that big because the energetic pull is so great sometimes. He was working there for about six weeks and we had barely spoken. Then one day I came home and he had painted the waterfall, as only Shrine could, and I screamed with joy. He came straight over, hugs me and whispered in my ear, ‘do you really like it?’. From that moment forward, the distance between us collapsed and the bond was sealed. We’ve been standing by and for each other ever since.”
“It was Shrine’s first year at Burning Man and he camped adjacent to Dream and I,” offered Flemming of his first encounter. “He had no idea what to expect but he fit right in on his first year. His camp was beautiful and was very artistic and creative. Over the next few years he was very involved in Lucent Dossier and I watched him go from a person who makes amazing art to a person that became walking art. He discovered the performer in himself and it was truly amazing to see this transition in him. I remember him telling me how he never really performed before and when he started getting into character and entertaining he loved it.”
He added, “Another favorite moment was going to the L.A. scrap yards and spending hours climbing through huge piles of junk materials to build the tree house stage at LIB one year. Shrine had never been to this place and he seemed to be in heaven when we got there.”
True Example of an Artist
Shrine’s infamous interior work with the legendary House of Blues chain, along with his colorful paintings on everything from cars to shoes and of course his unforgettable temple structures at Burning Man (which were made from completely recycled materials and “trash” no less) have become the stuff of legend. It’s this immense creativity coupled with the playful curiosity and giving nature that Shrine maintains and it’s easy to see why he has become endeared to so many over the years.
“Shrine is a true example of an artist,” said Flemming. “He is a walking art form. Everything he does and touches is creative and inspiring to everyone around him. He is able to see the beauty in everything around whether it may be trash, junk or just some random thing. His work is everywhere throughout this community. Wherever we look there are little bits of his art.”
“He’s passionate about art and inspiring people to think outside the box,” added Rockwell. “He’s deeply spiritual, but he always keeps it punk rock. I love that. He’s like Gandhi with an attitude. He’ll hate that I said that, as he likes to think of himself as a simple man, the next door neighbor if you will… but it carries truth. He’s the guy truly holding space for ‘humanity’s heroic awakening.’”
How to Help Shrine
Through the help of donations along with the generosity of Dr. Brian Hermon and the surgical talents of Dr. Bruce Chisholm, Shrine had successful surgery on his face in late October. However, like most artists, he doesn’t have health insurance and still faces significant costs on his road to recovery. Lucent Dossier Experience’s recent Palace Theater performances were dedicated to Shrine, where they donated all proceeds to aid his medical bills, but we must continue to come together to help out this special soul.
“For now the best place for people to help is the blog site for Shrine that has all the latest updates on his well-being and the Paypal link to donate,” shared Rockwell. “All and any donations will be so well used. He’s a very resourceful man but the hospitals are not. His bills are astronomical. It’s really a shame what happens to people that go through something like this, without insurance, they can end up losing everything. We want to see Shrine back in the world shining; he has so much to give…the world needs men like him. In some crazy way I believe that this happened to bring light onto this man so that more people could know who he is. We’ve been hogging him up, those of us lucky enough to spend time with him. But his great work is just beginning. And to be strong again he really will need a lot more financial help.”
“People can really help out by attending and participating in our fundraisers,” added Fernandez. “There is one in San Francisco on November 20th and also stay tuned for an L.A. fundraiser in January 2012!”
We want to thank all of you who have already given to help Shrine! Any amount you can afford greatly aids in our efforts and be sure to visit http://weloveshrine.blogspot.com/ to stay up-to-date on Shrine’s progress and to donate to his medical expenses.
See more of Shrine’s amazing work on his website: http://shrineon.com
Have you experienced Shrine’s work in person? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.