and Ian David McGregor
Donoghue, 24, and McGregor, 25, of Boston, are cofounders of the multimedia collaborative Eye Design, the goal of which, the filmmaker and photographer explain, is to reach across artistic genres and expose undiscovered local talent through documentaries, and their popular music and art and networking event Treat Yo Self, the third installment of which takes place on June 27 at Great Scott in Allston.
‘ We pick out three bands. . . . Then we bring in . . . galleries and magazines and turn the whole venue into an art gallery.’ Erick Donoghue (left, with Ian David McGregor)
Q. Explain what the idea behind Treat Yo Self is. When did you start throwing these events?
Donoghue: We’ve done two so far, the first one was on April 24. We pick out three bands [like Color Channel and Summer of Aden] — we try to get them all in the same genre. Then we bring in featured art galleries and magazines and turn the whole venue into an art gallery. We’ve had Boston Art Underground, Lilt Magazine, Larynx Magazine, and local artists like Laura Sau, Tim Moores, and Ashley Jessome. We try to find up-and-coming things that people don’t know about yet.
Q. Do the artists play off the music?
McGregor: As far as crossover, a lot of the artists we know, we know through bands. The live art that goes on is not synchronized with the music per se, but it definitely shares the space. Around the stage, we put art there as well, art on both sides of the stage. It’s not necessarily intertwined, but you can’t go there and not see one without seeing the other. If you’re there to see a band, you’re going to see Ian Sanity [a Boston artist who’ll appear June 27] work. But if you’re there to support him you’re going to see some cool bands.
Q. So it’s for music fans who wouldn’t necessarily go to an art gallery, and vice versa?
Donoghue: Absolutely. It’s cool representing the underground artists and these magazines people just don’t know of. It’s cool for the people involved, artists who don’t normally have a show or get to display their work to around 200 people. It’s a good feeling being able to give those people a show, saying we love your work and think it needs to be seen.
Q. You got the name “Treat Yo Self” from the show “Parks and Recreation” I assume?
McGregor: Yes, we have like candy and cupcakes all over the bar.
Donoghue: We make some pretty ridiculous chocolate cupcakes and everyone kind of gets a kick out of that. People really dig them and everything gets eaten.
Q. Well, artists are hungry. It’s about building a community as well?
Donoghue: It’s to get people out on a Tuesday when they’d generally stay inside, and have these wonderful opportunities to win free art and see art, but it’s a networking night essentially. We want people to be able to go there, meet the right people, and possibly display their work at the next show. It’s been great for bridging connections. Eye Design is so successful after only being a company for a couple of months because the community has been so supportive of us representing Boston’s talents. We really have a special thing happening at Great Scott and people are very receptive to what we are doing.
Q. What other projects is Eye Design working on?
Donoghue: Eye Design is a multimedia collaborative, and the goal is to document the art and music scene in Boston through innovative audio and visuals. . . . [Aside from Treat Yo Self] we’re doing takeaway shows, where we take bands, unplug them, and put them in scenarios like, right now we’re taking a band to the Quincy quarries. They’re about 15 miles outside of Boston with this amazing sunset view and awesome skyline in background. We’re doing things like that with bands, trying to go about things in an innovative manner, any aspect where people aren’t necessarily doing the same thing.
Q. And you’re working documentaries as well?
Donoghue: We’re trying to document things other people don’t necessarily know about. We’re working on a documentary where we follow these kids who are making music from brain waves — there’s a school in Cambridge, and we were there for two weeks documenting what they were doing.
Q. How do you make music from brain waves?
Donoghue: They had headsets on, the headsets captured EEGs, or brain waves, and converted those into MIDI data, which is basically a music language that computers read. That’s going to be a big one when we release it. Again, it’s something people don’t know about, high school kids making music from brain waves, and it’s awesome. We’re also working with a group called Tremont Underground Theater Space. There’s a couple miles of abandoned subway tracks under the Theatre District. They’re proposing, and the MBTA is behind them, which is huge, that they want to renovate and transform these tracks into the next big theater district, like a tourist attraction. Essentially it’s going to be theater space, space for art venues, they’re going to get live sound down there. We’re going to be working with them video-wise and documenting what happens.