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60 Seconds With . . . the Rev. Ethan Acres

December 20, 2007|Paul Young

With an MFA from the University of Nevada and an honorary "doctor of divinity" from the website World Christianship Ministries, the Rev. Ethan Acres creates a sublime mix of heady religiosity and pop culture in his sculptures and performances that somehow retain the truth of the Scriptures without tipping over into mockery. Formerly based in L.A., the 37-year-old Alabama native recently returned to his home state to build his own church. But for the moment, he's back with a new sculpture -- a V8 engine made of stained glass -- at Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica.

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It's partly about saying goodbye to a part of American history, because the V8 most certainly will not survive. But mainly it's about the sacred heart of Christ, and how we should remember that it doesn't matter what you've got happening on the outside, the Man only cares about what's going on under the hood.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR NEW EXHIBIT?

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YOU'VE BEEN ATTACKED AND CALLED THE DEVIL BY DETRACTORS. DOES THAT EVER GET YOU DOWN?

There's a long, great history of religious figures and holy fools doing outrageous things to get people to stop what they're doing and reconsider their relationship with the divine. I feel that that's my job: to put a big old fork in the road and force people to stray to the right or left. I could care less if that means they love me or hate me, just as long as they have to take a moment and think about their faith, or lack of it, in a new way.

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NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CHURCH, WHAT KIND OF SERMONS DO YOU GIVE?

I usually base them on whatever I find interesting at the time. I've given sermons based on "Barbarella," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and the whole first season of "Star Trek." The original series, mind you.

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WHY DID YOU LEAVE L.A.?

I had a hard time making art in L.A. And I think that's because there's so much here. You have everything available. When you're limited, you're forced to be creative. Like now, I'm completely limited. The only art supplies are from Lowe's and Hobby Lobby. But I honestly think I'm a better artist than I've ever been.

-- Paul Young

theguide@latimes.com

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