Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Idaho Falls produces edgy people? Believe it

Idaho Falls native Jared Gold, now a fashion designer and creative director at Woodbury University in Los Angeles.
For all that is being written about Millennials, I think it might be Generation X that amazes us most when all is said and done.

Working on a book for Arcadia Publishing, "Legendary Locals of Idaho Falls," I have discovered some extraordinary people born here around 1971. Two stand out in particular, Jared Gold and Darcy Stanger, and it comes as no surprise they were friends who lived four or five houses away from each other on 11th Street.

Gold is a fashion designer in Los Angeles; Dame Darcy (her professional name) is a cartoonist, illustrator, designer, doll maker and musician based in Savannah, Ga. Discovering both of them nearly simultaneously, I wondered how Idaho Falls, routinely dismissed as boring, could have produced such avant garde people.

"Was there something in the water?" I asked Gold in telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. His answer was more interesting. Basically, they were too young to be Baby Boomers but too early for the Internet.

"I ask people whether they had the Internet in high school," he said. "If you didn't, it puts you on the leading edge of Generation X."

Gold occupied himself by silkscreening T-shirts and selling them, publishing an infozine called "Aqualung" (surreptitiously using the copier at Chesbro's, where he worked) and organizing raves in Idaho Falls and Rexburg.

"It gave me a lot of confidence, and when I moved to a bigger city I was ready," he said.

He went to Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and after graduating in 1992 began creating fashion for men, women and children, taking inspiration from antiquated imagery and Victorian sewing details. On television, he appeared as a guest judge on America's Next Top Model in 2006 (an episode that featured his "Roach Brooch" jewelry) and in March 2009 he was a special guest judge on Germany's Next Top Model, hosted by Heidi Klum.
Dame Darcy, born Darcy Meghan Stanger, in mermaid regalia near a replica of H.M.S. Bounty.
On a similar track, Stanger won a scholarship at age 17 to the San Francisco Art Institute. After graduating, she started a alternative comic book, "Meat Cake." She has designed murals and stained glass for celebrities (Courtney Love, Margaret Cho) and done window displays for Forbidden Planet in New York City. For a period, she played banjo and sang Elizabethan murder ballads at the legendary punk club CBGB, to keep people from leaving when the bands were setting up their equipment behind the curtain.

"She has an unadorned style of singing that's really effective, and visually she makes a impression," said her dad, sign painter and bluegrass musician Mike Stanger.

Dame Darcy summed up her Idaho Falls years in an online interview: "(I) spent seventeen years there in an ice cavern, drawing, doing dumb little plays I wrote, and making flip books. Everything I learned to do then, I make money doing now."

Gold said there are other amazing people their age from Idaho Falls, including Natalie Behring, an internationally renowned photographer now based in Portland, Ore.

"We were the children of a generation that kind of realized there was another way other than the Baby Boomer path," he said.