Charlotte artist Preston Drum is finding ‘Home’ through his art

By Lo’Vonia Parks 

January 13, 2016

Minneapolis-based artist Preston Drum returns to the city of his birth to mount his most ambitious work to date. “Home Comings and Goings” is a fully immersive and interactive viewer experience featuring painting, sculpture, video and sound collaborations with local musicians. Focusing on non-linear storytelling, this art and music exhibit explores the idea of home. How do we define home and how do our interpersonal relationships affect its existence? This site-specific installation is being built over the course of a month-long studio residency at C3Lab. Live performances inside Preston’s constructed environments include: Bo White, Robert Childers, Brent Bagwell, Zodiak Lovers, Del Rio and Suit City.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Drum’s new exhibit is an exploration in defining the term “home.” Crafting an experience, Drum uses objects from his own life to create domestic exploration of one’s memories. Harnessing the power of music, Drum thoughtfully uses his favorite local bands to enhance the expression. This notion is significant to him because he has been away from his hometown, Charlotte, for three years. Within that time, “…my work has changed,” Preston said. He wants to make sure he is presenting how he has changed, and in some way, how Charlotte has changed, too. He recounts that it is such as parent cliché phrase of a mom telling the child, ‘you changed.’ However, there is truth in such a statement, and he is attempting to show it through music and art intertwined. He remarks that Charlotte is a mirror– showing him how he changes. As mentioned in his Artist Statement: “What does it mean when home doesn’t feel like ‘home’ anymore?” He wants to define the home experience, and at the same time, not to be afraid of change– to embrace it.

What Can You Expect From The Show:

Listen to the music. It is the art as well. Preston’s favorite bands, albeit they are also local, are just as important as the work. The two need one another to fully convey the experience. In life, music can spark a memory, a fond thought or even a bitter one. Music is a powerful medium that Drum uses to help the viewer come to their point-of-view about each piece. How does this body of work relate to the featured bands? Each band has a stage specifically designed for them. Their music will set the tone for the experience of that particular memory. In his own words he brings the objects and the band brings the sound. He mentioned that Robert Childers actually assisted in the creative process by adding to the church-like structure that his band will be performing in. The piece, Wake for Lineage, features a coffin with a guitar solo playing on an infinite loop. The experience is all encompassing with the child-like scribbles on the church walls. Left open to the interpretation of life, death and home– expect the unexpected.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper

Go into the show with an open mind. This is important because the storyline is not linear. It is a combination of sequences that exist for the sake of the space it surrounds. Also, the use of a common material, cardboard, will challenge your preconceived notion of material. Drum exclaims that he is known as “the cardboard guy.” He has a love/hate relationship with the material. He loves that is, “Narly, easy to work with. Free.” On the other hand, the material can easily be despised due to it’s temporary construction. But, just like life, it doesn’t last forever.

“Most of my art is experience,” says Drum. In which a correlation can be made with a packing material and the concept of homecomings and goings. Drum firmly believes that is within the viewer “To put it together. Make sense from it.” His job? To put the pieces/found objects out there for experiences sake. So what does “home” mean to Preston? “I dunno…Still trying to figure it out. Trying to find inner peace,” Drum says.


Inner peace is another term Drum uses for “home.” Maybe finding the peace within the exploration of home is what it’s about in the end.

Check out ‘Home Comings and Goings’ art + music exhibit this Friday, January 15 at C3 Lab 

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