Oscillations showcases local, indie art and music
Places that make a point to celebrate local music and art seem increasingly harder to come by. Not just falling victim to any certain aesthetic, the people who actively seek out local art are looking to build community, to connect with people directly around them.
If you value these things, head over to Oscillations Art and Music Eclectic, 2674 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., which is one of the newest shops in Bay View. Oscillations had a preview during this year's Bay View Bash and the shop officially opened without the fanfare of a street festival on Sept. 26.
Locally-made music, art and jewelry are emphasized at Oscillations. In addition to Hohner Melodicas, clever logo T-shirts, hot rod art and psychedelia that make up the "eclectic" in the shop name, there's a range of other items to be enjoyed, each suiting its owner's artistic sensibilities.
Local guy Gian Pogliano is the owner of Oscillations. Pogliano grew up on Superior Street, attended a Montessori school as a kid and graduated from High School of the Arts, where Pogliano says he was fortunate enough to be part of its creative writing program. Pogliano attended film school at UW-Milwaukee, eventually transferring to Columbia in Chicago, where he graduated with a film degree.
"I heard that things were getting interesting (back in Bay View). There were a lot of creative people with a working class, unpretentious mentality moving in," says Pogliano.
If there's a philosophy underlying the workings of Oscillations it's one that supports community, broadly conceived. Pogliano believes that local music is important because it helps create "an ideological sense of community," that is, it structures the feelings of place that people need to share in order to have community.
"I think of local music as having roots in a time when families would play together after dinner, when a neighbor would come over to join in. Music seen this way creates a dialogue with someone living in the same place. They can respond to it," says Pogliano.
Pogliano will carry music by almost any local artist, even if all they have is music they've burned to a disk and written on with a Sharpie.
"I think I can describe how good it is so that people will take a chance on it and go out to see the act," says Pogliano.
Among some of the current offerings are those by local singer / songwriter and visual artist Mandy Cappleman, whose music Pogliano describes as a cross between Lilith Fair and the Moldy Peaches. Pogliano has a sign next to one of Cappleman's paintings in the shop proclaiming "great for dorm rooms!"
Other Milwaukee artists at Oscillations currently include Astral / Subastral and psychedelic-Latin-funk-punk group Half Letters. Pogliano will soon carry music by local hip hop acts.
Pogliano knows there's a lot of fantastic music and art out there that no other shop will take and he wants to help fill the void. He believes that local people of little means need to have an outlet for their art and that other people of lesser means, who are always looking for it, should have a place to get it.
Pogliano points out that two neighborhood art galleries closed within the last year because, he believes, they priced the art too high for the area.
The artwork at Oscillations is set between $25 and $80. Music prices vary too, but new vinyl recordings from national acts are priced at just $10. Local music can come in any format, but Pogliano only sells everybody else on vinyl, such as surf and rock-a-billy music from the Hillsdale label and stuff from Kill Rock Stars.
"I feel the riot grrl thing is really important and should have more emphasis put on it," says Pogliano. He would also like to carry more feminist and LGBT items people would formerly have bought at Broad Vocabulary.
Other items currently in Oscillations include art pieces by Dave Sroka, of Milwaukee's Blue Flame Music, a U.S. flag with corporate logos instead of stars in the blue field and a selection of videos, which Pogliano bills as "1950s Cheesy Educational Films" and includes titles such as "Duck and Cover" and "VD: Truth or Consequences."
Jewelry by Girly Girl, Steam Punk and La Spia are spread throughout the one-room shop. Pogliano describes Steam Punk Jewelry as a "sci-fi meets the 19th century kind of thing, like if there was high technology during the Victorian era." La Spia is feathery, updated-flapper style accoutrements, like hair bows made from old men's neckties.
Girly Girl Baubles and Beads is Pogliano's mother's jewelry, made in Bay View. It was mom who gave Pogliano some of the necessary encouragement for opening the store.
"Things being the way they are, working up the corporate ladder was, well, not working. How do you wear the credentials needed in this society, if no one gives you the chance to earn one? My mother said, 'Become an entrepreneur' and I thought, 'Well, if this fails, like 95 percent of all new businesses do, at least I've given myself a credential,'" says Pogliano.
Pogliano is building cred with principles and style, pulling together edgy ideas that are not necessarily associated with any particular era, movement or label. The only one he adopts is "psychedelic," but quickly distances that from what he calls the "classic '60s cliche."
"It's modernized psychedelics. It seems when something is colorful in this neighborhood it's vintage, so I don't go for that. I intend to keep the shop colorful but not retro," he says.
Pogliano is currently open extended hours, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday. He wants to see what traffic is like and updates the hours on the shop door and on Oscillation's Facebook site. Pogliano encourages local artists, musicians and screen printers to contact him via email to discuss consignments.
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