Josh Stippich, Sol Adams & Ivy Earnest
Gavin: Hey, everyone. First thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Josh: I'm a workaholic who owns ElectronLuv and E3 Fabrication with my brother Sol. I'm a hi-fi vacuum-tube audiophile, car and tool enthusiast. Love to build everything then tear it apart, then build it again.
Ivy: I'm a web and graphic designer, aspiring documentary filmmaker, a glorious apostate, gentile and salt-o-holic. We are parents of three girls, three businesses and have been married for 10 years.
Sol: I make furniture, sculptures, and I paint, love cars, tattoos and working with my hands. I'm a newlywed to super-seamstress, Candice, and we have a three-year-old son, Zeke, who has an obsession with Caterpillar heavy equipment.
Gavin: What got all of you interested in art, and what were some early influences on each of you?
Josh: My parents. My dad is an HVAC engineer and my mom is a graphic designer. Old cars, locomotives, vacuum tubes, art deco design and David Adams, my stepdad, who is a local artist. Growing up in an artist community in Alpine, Utah called Bull River with the likes of local artists Neil Hadlock and Dennis Smith.
Sol: I love that art is something that can never be perfected. Art has always been therapeutic, and challenging for me to both do and fully understand. All of my parents are very creative people. My father, David Adams, is a well-known local artist. My mother, Connie Disney, designs and helps people publish books. My stepmother, Linda Stippich, is a graphic designer. My stepfather, John Keahey, is a writer. As far back as I can remember, my parents have always encouraged me to draw, paint and work with my hands.
Ivy: I always gravitated to art. My dad had a large college art book when I was growing up, along with books about aliens and Mormonism. I loved reading it and drew the pictures from it. Girl In Front Of A Mirror by Picasso was one of my favorites; I felt as though he had painted me.
Gavin: Starting with you, Josh -- how did you get into the audioworks side of things and experimenting with older technology?
Josh: I had a recording studio in the 1990s and I never seemed to be happy with the way the recordings sounded. About the same time, my stepdad, David, started purchasing tube audio and I loved the warmth, I was hooked. I began building amplifiers. He wondered why they all had to fit into neat little rectangular boxes. Of course, the amplifier-manufacturing community has many accepted rules that deserve question, and the generally accepted look was, like the circuit and component designs, simply the result of years of development in the industry to create mass-market products. Using metal forming and fabricating skills, I embarked on a path to design amplifiers that took on a distinctly different appearance. But mere appearance was not enough. Since he started into audio in order to enjoy music at the most pure form, his amplifiers had to reflect that, too.
Gavin: What inspired you to build the vacuum-tube system with the large speakers?
Josh: When I heard my first tube-amp studio gear, the sound changed my thoughts for how electronics can sound. I always liked how old recordings sounded, I loved the tone that they had! This led me to learn everything about tube electronics. I began nonstop building of different typologies, push-pull amps, SET amps, then the holy grail of all DHT and SET -- Directly Heated Triode and Single Ended Triode -- amps. These are a special style of amplifier, which sound big, open, organic and transparent, with very low power: 1.5 watts to 15 watts is the output power. In order to get a small-watt amp to play loud and clean, you need very efficient speakers, hence the big horns; an average speaker is around 86 to 90 db efficiency for 1 watt, a big horn set up is 106 to 108 db efficiency for 1 watt! That efficiency is what makes these zero-feedback DHT amps have an emotional impact.
Gavin: What was the process behind putting that system together with a combination of current and period tech?
Josh: These days, there are computers and USB DACs -- digital audio converters -- that sound really good; you can store your music on a computer and play anything you'd like. New tech materials used today in speaker-driver manufacturing include titanium, beryllium and carbon fiber. Newly made transformers contain nickel or amorphous core and capacitor technologies. New tubes are currently being made for hi-fi audio in the Czech Republic and Russia!
Gavin: Sol, what got you involved with furniture design and creating an artistic version of everyday decor?
Sol:I started getting more into architecture, interior design, and designer furniture about 10 years ago. I really enjoy the challenge of creating something unique within the boundaries of a function.
Gavin: Do you find yourself designing one piece at a time, or do you make an effort to create entire settings that will complement each other?
Sol: I build one piece at a time, because of the mix of materials and finishes I like to use. Most of the pieces I've designed work well together.
Gavin: How much work goes into creating a single piece? And do you find yourself focusing more on the function of the furniture itself or the artistic appeal of it?
Sol: It really depends on the piece. Some can take quite a bit of time and work to figure out how to make it function and look the way I want it to. And some pieces just magically come together with little effort. The function of a piece is just as important to me as the quality of craftsmanship and artistic appeal.
Gavin: Ivy, prior to this, you had worked as a web tech for various companies. What was it like doing that work and what eventually drew you to working with E3 Fabrication?
Ivy: I met Josh in 1999 and I helped him build an online presence for his first business, ElectronLuv. The business name, ElectronLuv, actually started out as a joke between the two of us but it just stuck and we actually had a lot of positive feedback. So, he was explaining to me how audio worked; he went into such great detail, I said, "Wow, you really love electrons!" That first site garnered a lot of attention from people around the world and opened many doors for the both of us. I received a bachelor of fine art in 2000 and just ended up in web design. Now, I'm ready for a change and want to get back into the creation of fine art through photography, maybe a little painting and filmmaking. The new E3 Modern space is perfect to do that, plus having art and artists around me all the time is inspiring.
Gavin: How did the three of you come together and decide to start a gallery?
Ivy: We realized collectively that we needed to highlight different art, furniture and audio that our companies can create. Our E3 Fabrication clients ask if we can produce unusual and different items. The best way to show our work is with a showroom with great products hand built built by us, E3 Fabrication and Electronluv.
Gavin: What made you want to do it downtown, and how did you come across the old Nobrow Coffee location?
Ivy: We have all been getting coffee from Joe at Nobrow for years, so when it became available we had to take it. We love the look and feel of that space, and the downtown Salt Lake City location is just cool, hip and fun.
Gavin: What was it like turning the place into a gallery, and how much of the original feel did you keep?
Ivy: We kept 90% of what was here before. It needed a fair amount of cleaning, we raised some of the walls to the ceiling, removed old duct work, installed lighting, fresh paint and remodeled the bathroom with a custom E3 Fabrication sink. We kept the 100-year-old brickwork completely intact.
Gavin: Ivy, what made you decide to become the gallery's curator, and what kind of responsibility does that put on you?
Ivy: I felt it was a natural progression for me. I know a lot of local artists and I love meeting people I've never met before, especially people I've heard about, know we had mutual friends but had never met in person. This just happened with Trent Call, and I asked him how did we not met until now! I don't really think of it as putting a responsibility on me, it's just who I am. Also, I'm the pseudo marketing maven for E3 Modern, E3 Fabrication and ElctronLuv. Any artist can e-mail me at email@example.com -- see how I just did that?!
Gavin: How did you go about choosing artists to display, and who did you showcase during your first month open?
Ivy: These first couple of months, I've just been approaching people whose art I like; hopefully, we'll be sought after by artists. This month, I asked some local artists, and most had at least one piece to show this month. Next month, we'll be showing more local artists, and there are some solo exhibitions coming up, as well. Stay tuned.
Gavin: What was the opening reception like during Gallery Stroll back in April?
Ivy: It was amazing, especially since it was our "soft" opening. We were totally packed and had people walking in until midnight. All of Broadway -- 300 South -- was teeming with people; it almost felt like a street in New York City. I'm hoping gallery night, this Friday, May 17, will be just as eventful due to the exposure on Fox 13's Uniquely Utah segment and you, Gavin, from the Underground.
Gavin: What is the goal you have in mind for the gallery/storefront, and what do you hope to bring to people every month?
Ivy: We're trying to push the envelope in a lot of artistic medias. We want to be on the forefront of well-crafted, well-designed creative items and products. We want you to think of us when you want or need something spectacular in your life -- whether it is architectural, a painting, sculpture or audio.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?
Ivy: More furniture, artistic lighting designs and smaller more practical Eaudio designs; cutting-edge art and well crafted.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Ivy: Grand Opening! Friday, May 17, on Gallery Stroll, from 6 p.m. to late. Most all of the galleries are open the third Friday of every month and we'll be open for every one of them. This weekend we'll be open during the Living Traditions Festival. We'll also be open and waving our pride flags for the 2013 Utah Pride Festival, June 2. The E3 Modern store at 315 E. Broadway is the Pride parade-staging area. If we are missing something cool downtown, let us know; e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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