Shilo Brown's Electric Chair
By Seth Joseph
For Loud Magazine

     The Electric Chair Art Gallery is a rectangular room in an independent bookstore in a small shopping center on the southwest side of Oklahoma City.  It is also on the cutting edge of Oklahoma art, and a regular stop for a rapidly growing audience of art lovers.  Located within Book Beat & Co. at 9136 W. Walker, the Electric Chair Art Gallery is quickly becoming a hub for a new generation of artists and art lovers.

     Opening in November of 2003, the Electric Chair Art Gallery has featured dozens of artists, boasting a new show almost every week.  Almost every Friday and Saturday night finds a large crowd of art lovers at the Electric Chair Art Gallery, and for good reason.  Rock artists such as Casey Jones and David Dean have exhibited their works at the Electric Chair, as well as local favorites Chris Palmer and Jay Are.  However, less established artists are just as welcome.  In fact, shows from artists as young as sixteen and seventeen have also hung at the gallery.  Shilo Brown, owner and ubiquitous presence within the store, has encouraged wide participation from local artists of all media, including not only visual artists but also poets, performance artists and musicians at special events.  For Shilo, the standards for what makes it into his gallery are quite subjective.  It largely comes down to what he likes, and what he can see merit in.  According to Shilo, he will not necessarily give an artist a show simply because he or she has shown at other local galleries; or if an artist is a friend or long-time customer.  The gallery is in existence to support, as he puts it "our artists."  To that end, Shilo is open to meeting with any interested artist about a show.  He prefers to be approached in person, and with actual works instead of slides.  Currently, the Electric Chair Gallery is booking shows two and a half months in advance, so artists should move quickly to secure a show.  Coming up in October is the "Stained In Lead" show, which will be a group show featuring pencil works.  Any interested artists should bring two to three works by the store for entry.  Other upcoming shows include paintings from J Scott Black, music from My Clark Kent Birthday Party, and a conference on Tarot cards from Lon Milo.  Full up-to-date listings can be found on the web at www.bookbeatco.net under the "events" page.

     According to Shilo, he wants to "make people want to come to Oklahoma City. I'm very Oklahoma based."  That may be true, but his audience is not entirely based in the Sooner State.  While the Electric Chair Art Gallery draws a strong crowd from Oklahoma City, Norman, Moore, Edmond, Tulsa, and even Ada, there is also a small group of ex-patriate Oklahomans in Dallas who bring their friends and neighbors from Texas to at least one show per month at the gallery. While he appreciates the new influx of patrons, and the inevitable impulse purchases they make [author's note: I now own the classic film Cannibal Holocaust after seeing it on sale during a recent show], money is not the primary motivation for Brown's foray into gallery ownership.  The store takes absolutely no commission on art that is sold at the gallery, and performers receive 100% of any cover charge collected at the door.  For Shilo, the Electric Chair Gallery is not about making money in the short term, but rather investing in the future of the artistic community.  To that end, he is willing to lend a fairly large piece of his already tightly-stocked store to whoever he feels will make good use of it.  His message to artists is "Don't leave. Take what you have and make it better."  For more information, call Shilo Brown at 405.616.7407, email him at [email protected] , or just stop by and say hello.