Entertainment, Scene and Heard

Cullen Vance: A man of many art forms

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Multitasking when it comes to art can be difficult, but to some, it seems to come with ease.
Enter Cullen Vance, 28, a creative mastermind who’s done just about any art form you can think of – from live music, improv and acting, to video game design.
Vance blames his constant creative itch on astrology.
”I’m a Libra,” Vance said with a laugh. ”I was given too much energy. I can’t sit still, so I’m always working. I’m addicted to finding new art forms. It’s honestly the thrill of learning.”
Finding thrill in learning, Vance has been a teacher at several local schools, starting as a theatre teacher at The Academy of Arts and Academics (A3), a magnet/alternative high school in Springfield when he was 22 years old in 2014. He also worked in the Springfield School District from 2014 to 2016, where he hosted workshops and classes for the Talented and Gifted (TAG) programs.
These days, partnering with with lead theatre faculty member Brian Haimbach, Vance is a guest artist in improv classes at Lane Community College (LCC). As a guest artist, he gets to have a hand in teaching an improv group for a few weeks out of the term. Vance then returns to host the improv portion of the acting showcase, a performance at the end of the term where students get to share what they’ve worked on.
”I love being a guest artist because it’s like being an aunt or an uncle to a kid,” Vance said. ”If you’re a parent, you have to discipline and set future goals. As the ‘uncle,’ you get to come in, have fun, spoil them and then leave before you have to grade anything.”
Aside from being a guest artist at LCC, Vance’s newest album, ”Cullen Vol. 1,” released to all streaming services on Oct. 5. He describes his music as ”organic experimental,” working with a wide range of instruments, inspirations and styles. Vance’s discography on Spotify dates back to 2016, with four full albums and two singles. His collection features more artistically abstract pieces; an album of spoken word paired with his accompaniment; and his newest work, an emotionally charged and musically complex album featuring exceptional vocal work, something Vance doesn’t usually share.
Being a local artist full-time can be a tough gig, but Vance said he has a strong support system with his family – his wife, Mia and their 6-year-old son, who often share the stage with him.
As the stars would have it, Mia is also a creative type. She is the assistant director at Flex Studios in Eugene, but often performs belly dancing and spoken-word poetry alongside Cullen.
”Mia has endless amounts of stage presence. It’s some type of magic,” Vance said. ”When I get to share the stage with her, it’s electric. With our improv backgrounds, we’re able to build a very comfortable performance, so there’s an element of risk, but things come pretty naturally.”
The Vances will be premiering a new performance, ”Instead of Butterflies,” together on Oct. 18, pairing his music with her poetry. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Blue Door Theater at Lane Community College.
The performance revolves around one feeling: inspiration.
”We love feeling inspired, and we like to push that energy forward – especially in such hard times that we’re living in, where everything feels dark; it can be hard to feel inspired,” Vance said. ”We have received so much inspiration from our collaborators and friends and family, and we are hoping to pour that energy back into the people around us – in this case, the audience.”