By Tracie Chan

While some of us prefer to repress memories of our teenage years, 30+ local artists choose to re-experience the angst and horrors of those formative years in Saturday’s Teenage Wasteland exhibition at Co-Lab. This installation, curated by Julia Hungerford and Lee Webster, will showcase paintings, drawings, zines, videos, and voodoo dolls created during the artists’ teen years. All unwanted works will be burnt in a bonfire during the closing reception on May 12th. We caught up with some of the participating artists to see what they were really like in high school.

Julia Hungerford
Teen TV/movie character you identified with most: I can't think of any teens in movies or TV to which I related. I liked rock and roll. Maybe I identified with the personas of the Runaways? They are a kind of fictional characters - tough, sex-pot teen rockers imagined by a dirty old man and executed by REAL tough, sexy teen rockers. 

Voted most likely to: I was voted Most Unique more than once. The guy the superlative went to was an old friend. We both had art class together during the same period. I talked our art teacher into letting us go to the thrift store during class. In the yearbook photo, I'm wearing a strapless black dress, zebra-striped spiked heels and a black boa. He's in a suit and tie and fingerless leather gloves. We are not smiling. It's great.

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: The art I made in high school and will be showing is either psychedelic posters painted in bright tempera, fake horror movie stills in black and white, or dissection photos. Psychedelic, bright, dark, dramatic, gross.

Lee Webster
Song/band you identified with most in high school: "I Hate Danger" by Bikini Kill, "Miss Misery" by Elliott Smith, "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead

Voted most likely to: Adapt a Francesca Lia block book for the big screen, open a store selling only artfully patched jeans and purses made from rice bags, get arrested for shoplifting craft supplies

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: I'm submitting a video. I don't have five words for it, but what is important to note is that it was pulled from the air and debated in front of the school board because of "implied violence." So, there's that. Okay, okay, I'll try for five descriptors… serious, film noir, trip hop, psycho thriller, swing dance trend, depression.

Debra Broz
Teen TV/movie character you identified with most: Sorry. I have to hit a book character on this one: Holden Caulfield. By far. Although, come to think of it, I hadn't read Catcher in the Rye yet when I made the drawing, so probably Winona Ryder's character in Reality Bites. That feels like an embarrassingly revealing answer.

Voted most likely to: Move away from home/do something weird

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Angst-ridden, melodramatic, cliché, false, true

Katie Geha
Song/band you identified with most in high school: "99 Luftballons" - Nena

Voted most likely to: Move out of Iowa

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Summer, bongos, bad poetry, feelings

Rebecca Marino
Teen TV/movie character you identified with most: Daria

Voted most likely to: Not care what you do after high school

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Simple, emotional, playful, hopeful, and photoshop-tastic

Sean Gaulager
Song/band that you identified with most in high school: Tool

Voted most likely to: Burnout

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Reflections of a druggie loser

Sam Sanford
Teen TV/movie character you identified with most: Marty McFly from Back To The Future

Voted most likely to: Become a cult leader

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Only need two words: PUNK ROCK

Joshua Saunders
Song/band you identified with most in high school: Wu-Tang

Voted most likely to: Burn through their stash

Five words that describe your "Teenage Wasteland" piece: Yoga, nude man, ass-reflection, fan