The arts

Dreams on demand

Kavanaugh and Carson collaborate in drawing and diction

By Dawn Franco
Posted 6/6/18

On a Saturday, strolling through the farmer's market among the vendors and musicians you'll find a small and rare factory.One component, Marshall James Kavanaugh, will be positioned in …

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The arts

Dreams on demand

Kavanaugh and Carson collaborate in drawing and diction


On a Saturday, strolling through the farmer's market among the vendors and musicians you'll find a small and rare factory.

One component, Marshall James Kavanaugh, will be positioned in a wide-brimmed straw hat behind an antiquated typewriter. Alongside of him, you'll see the second contributing mechanism, Anthony Evan Carson, posted at a small table with a variety of watercolor pencils in a black fedora and floral print shirt.

Upon request, the unordinary atelier and artistic machine produces illustrations, poems and even dreams.

In 2016 Kavanaugh and Carson were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. Later that fall, they joined the oil pipeline protest at Standing Rock in North Dakota, working within the camp and standing in solidarity for water protection.

By 2017 Kavanaugh purchased a small table, asked Carson to create drawings by request and to join his poetic mission. Thus the dream team was created. They have since created pocket-sized, collaborative, illustrated poems based on the passing pedestrians' queries.

Local musician, Carson, drifter from place to place, had been drawing long before joining Kavanaugh. His colorful representations were foretold in photographs before endless doodles on grade school notes led him to full-time artistry.

"There's a picture of my father drawing portraits of me and my little baby brother, and I'm looming over him and totally enthralled, mystified and I'd say that was a defining factor for me," Carson said.

Carson finds inspiration in the world around him and is influenced by Connor Oberst of the musical group Bright Eyes as well as filmmaker and writer Alexandro Jodorowsky.

As for Philadelphian Kavanaugh, he has been a lifelong poet before taking to the road and the streets to create poetry by request, referring to himself as a dream poet for hire.

"For me this is one facet of me being a poet. I view being a poet or being an artist, they're interchangeable. It's not just a thing you show, but a thing that you live," Kavanaugh said. "I don't just put out bits of poetry and hide in the shadows when people read my books. I feel like to be a poet I need to actually live that lifestyle completely," he said.

Kavanaugh's poetic intentions were fueled by Jack Kerouac, activist and writer John Trudell and poet Sonia Sanchez, and he utilizes his own poetic medium to evoke and recognize activism.

What dreams are made of …

For the Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe, Carson and Kavanaugh will be premiering their newest endeavor "Dreams by Request" Friday through Sunday (June 8-10) on the Railyard Plaza.

"It's an interactive installation involving video, and we'll be doing dreams by requests, but basically poetry and drawing by requests, and we're building this thing we're calling the 'Manifestation Station' that's basically like a space for people to go into and (it) manifests their different intentions, but it's also playing on the themes of the dogma of spirituality ... by blasting poetic mantras on the tent you walk inside of," said Kavanaugh, describing the upcoming interactive post. "They're tying all back to getting people to be centered back in the earth."

Kavanaugh will be typing up the pocket-sized surreal and imaginative collections of words to create dreamscapes, and Carson will be drawing colorful, psychedelic and cosmic illustrations to further depict the clouded visage.

The final concept is inspiration. The duo's primary aspiration is to create a safe discussion space as well as spur the spirit.

"My hope for anything that I do: it's nice to be recognized, but really I just want to inspire people to become themselves and to know that it's okay to feel tension. It's okay to release. It's also okay to be peaceful and happy. It's something I learn every day," said Carson.

"My personal mantra is to inspire and be inspired. I feel like that's what an artist is supposed to do," added Kavanaugh in agreement with Carson.

Previously Kavanaugh and Carson curated "A Poem is Where the Heart Is," an interactive installation that offered typewriters for participants to create poems from prompts. The poems in turn collectively built a final piece for reading during April's national poetry month at the experimental venue Parse Seco.

The exhibition's intent was to reflect back on the diverse range of voices present in the Taos area. They created a space for expression, addressing various issues within the community which included federal ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids, rejuvenation of ecosystems and indigenous identity.

Don't miss the Manifestation Station in Santa Fe's Currents New Media Festival, which will be ongoing through June 24 and discover the small dream machine at Taos Farmers Market on Saturday. For more information visit,, or


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