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Sept. - Oct. 2011


Sept. - Oct. 2011


Sept. - Oct. 2011


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Letter from the Editor

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So here we are. The start of something new. I want this magazine to be a feast of sorts. Art and music is everywhere and we so often take it for granted. This magazine is a constant celebration of the new, the up and coming and the underappreciated. I am here to show you what else is out there, beyond the mainstream lineup and nationally celebrated artist. I have much respect for anyone who has already “made it” but what I’m more interested in is the struggle to get there, or the contentment with staying where you are. I’ve always had a desire to see what everyone else was doing; always sensing I was missing out on something great, somewhere. With this magazine, I plan to feed that hunger, in not only myself, but for all of you. I will show you amazing artists from all over the world, review albums you may not have known existed, bring attention to art and music-world happenings and, most importantly, shine a spotlight that might have otherwise not existed. This issue is a bit smaller than issues that will precede it. Take it as an introduction to what will come. It’s still packed full of new artists and musicians, from all walks of life, doing what makes them happiest. Our writers are beyond talented; they’ve done all the digging for you, telling the stories needing to be told. With that being said, please, read on. Enjoy this first issue and I hope you’ll look forward to many more.

Crystal Vinson Editor in Chief

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masthead

Founder............................... Crystal Vinson Editor in Chief.....................Crystal Vinson Art Editor..................... Christina Youmans Music Editor.........................Mitchell Davis Web Editor................................ Haniya Rae Creative Director....... Matthew Scheiderer Copy Editor.................. Amanda Hausauer Art Dept.................................. Logan David

Pork & Mead Issue 1, Sep-Oct 2011, is published bi-monthly. Letters/Submissions Send all unsolicited material to: Pork & Mead 439 Selden St. #302 Detroit, MI 48201 Copyright 2011 All material contained within Pork & Mead as well as the porkandmead.com website are © 2011 Pork & Mead Magazine and cannot be reproduced in any way without the expressed written consent of the Publisher of Pork & Mead Magazine. As ever Opinions expressed are those of their respective authors, not necessarily those of Pork & Mead


contents art

Sept. - Oct. 2011

features 8

| Tang Yau Hoong

16 | FX and Mat

editorials

7 | WTF 14 | [re]Working It 15 | Serpico

small features

18 | Sandra Arteaga 19 | Brian Dickerson 20 | J Three Concepts 21 | Luke Jerram 22 | Michel Keck 23 | Stuart Matthews

16

24 | Jason Snyder 25 | Levi van Veluw 26 | Amanda Wachob 27 | Teagan White

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8


Contributers: 06 07

Alaina Latham, Alyssa Coluccio, Anthony Venditto, Ben Dayton, Bryan Menegus, Bryan O’Keefe, Chad D. Ghiron, Christine Bettis, Elizabeth Price, Gina Conn, Hannah Palmer Egan, Keith Carne, Kim Reick Kunoff, Kristi Waterworth, Jennifer Piejko, Jessie Wheeler, Joseph Baron-Pravda, Matthew Lambert, Michael Garfield, Ruo Piao Chen, Tara Mcevoy, Tracy Walsh, Veronika Hoglund, Whitney Meers

18

21

27

23

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Words | Christine Bettis

First of all, there’s the Nesquik poster complete with bullet holes in the glass. That’s it? Is that supposed to be ironic? Does Nesquik kill? Should we declare a War on Nesquik? Give me a silly exhibition, and I will ask silly questions. Jani then chose to juxtapose oversized Coca-Cola cans & McDonald’s french fry boxes (yawn) with signs he collected from homeless people all over the world, while traveling with the money he made off of his shitty art. Those on Team Jani probably think this is noble; that it will help bring awareness to homelessness, which is, undoubtedly, a developed society’s biggest blemish. I, however, see it as a gimmicky wolf in sheep’s clothing. “I Want to Become So Famous…” is basically a collection of Warhol-esque everyday objects modified to imply that certain societies are hyper focused on money, fame, porn, etc. Someone had the audacity to call this exhibition “enigmatic.” This exhibition is quite the opposite of enigmatic; it is painstakingly obvious and overplayed. His technique is quite good, but his creativity is spread more sparsely than parsley. We do not need another refashioned grocery store item to remind us that our society, in general, has an unsettling, coked-out obsession with fame. Making art about the dangers of fame and money only perpetuates the focus on fame and money. Let us avert our eyes, and shift our focus. I know plenty of talented artists and art school students that constantly click the refresh button on their perspective page and would love to dominate the scene. Flip to the next page of this magazine- oh look, there’s one. If one creates a work of art with the desire to become famous off of it, I believe some of the mystique is lost. I can just picture art historians of the future searching for the meaning of Jani’s artwork and finding fame, searching for creativity and finding none, and chalking it up to an overall vapid lack of purpose & intense self-involvement. How embarrassing. A true artist doesn’t want to become famous until after she or he has died. Henry Darger, best known for his 15,000+ page masterpiece of a manuscript (including both written and illustrated pages) titled, In the Realms of the Unreal, was a hermit and an outsider artist whose work was discovered by his landlords while he was on his death bed. Henry created for no one. His only audience member was the fly on the wall. Unlike Jani’s artwork, Henry’s was like nothing I have ever seen before. I kind of wish all artists were less like Jani Leinonen and more like Henry Darger… reclusive and intense, with a touch of Asperger’s syndrome and a lifelong plague of creative fury. Alas, mainstream artists these days seem to spend as much time socializing as they do creating. Perhaps it’s time to network less compulsively, and get to work on the first artistic masterpiece of the 21st century.

Sept. - Oct. 2011

column

“I WANT TO BECOME SO FAMOUS DAMIEN HIRST’S MOTHER KNOWS ME”

I have my qualms with Damien Hirst, and I’m sure his mother is no picnic. So, while flipping through a fairly elitist, well circulated art magazine, the name of this exhibition caught my eye and I was immediately suspect of it. “I Want to Become So Famous Damien Hirst’s Mother Knows Me” is not only the name of _+his recent exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich, but it is quoted as one of the three goals of Jani Leinonen’s artwork. Sarcastic or not, mockingly or not, fame is the silent but deadly center of this funnel cloud of stale Pop Art. Come along with me as I delve as deep as I possibly can into these shallow works of art.


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The Moment of Realization in the

ART OF TANG YAU HOONG Kim Reick Kunoff

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W

hen visual prankster Rene Magritte painted a picture of a pipe with the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (“This is not a pipe”) underneath, the world did a double take, and most got the joke. Malaysian illustrator Tang Yau Hoong brings the same wit to his deceptively simple designs. He is a magician of sorts--an optical illusionist. He twists our preconceptions of how the world is arranged and, like fellow surrealist Magritte, causes us to rethink our assumptions. A mustachioed Victorian rides his Penny Farthing 10 bicycle along a moustache-shaped path while mous11 tache-shaped birds flit around moustache-shaped pines. In “Trap,” an unaware axe-wielding hunter walks into a stand of trees that is, in reality, a hanging cage. And a figure in a rowboat nears the precipice of a placid lake, also unaware, in “The Edge of the World.” In “Hourglasses,” eyeglasses are turned on their side as sand runs through them. “Picycle” shows the Pi symbol between two wheels. Four years ago, shortly after graduating with his BA in mechanical engineering, Yau Hoong submitted sev-

eral of his designs to Threadless.com, in the off chance that they might be chosen for print. And they were. While he’d been drawing during most of his free moments since childhood, this was his big break—the moment he began to see his future a little bit differently. “This made me believe that I could make a living from my art, not by just submitting designs to contests but actually building my career in design.” Today, 27-year-old Yau Hoong works from his home in Kuala Lumpur, where he has established a solid client base and has been featured in design and illustration blogs from Brazil to the UK. He has created designs for the 2010 Nike Football World Cup; the bands sleepmakeswave, Paramore, and All Time Low; and the online marketplace Yoogot, among others. His Facebook page has almost 4000 fans. But Yau Hoong’s career shift, from that of an engineer to an artist, wasn’t an easy sell to his parents, who saw it as frivolous. Raised with five siblings in a traditional Chinese family in Malaysia, Yau Hoong was encouraged toward a practical vocation.+ “My mother just can't understand why people need so

many t-shirts (I do a lot of t-shirt design) and thinks it's crazy to spend money on paper [for art prints, which I will be selling soon]. I think I am lucky to be able to do what I like. For many people of my parents’ generation, making a living was not easy. Malaysia declared independence in 1957, so it's not hard to imagine the life of my parents.” Post-independence Malaysian life has presented its own set of challenges, which Yau Hoong’s generation now struggles with. The country has been ruled for decades by the oppressive Barisan Nasional regime. This past July, protesters gathered peacefully to rally in favor of election reform. Word was spread through various social media outlets. The Malaysian prime minister declared the organizers, a coalition of opposition groups known as the Bersih 2.0, an illegal organization. Tear gas was used against the marchers, and more than 1,600 people were arrested, among them children. Following the protests, the government announced that anybody affiliated with the opposition group risked arrest, and that possession of Bersih materials--or even owning the coalition’s signature yellow t-shirt--was illegal. In spite of the political repression, youth culture in Kuala Lumpur is vibrant. Yau Hoong passes the evenings with friends in the local Mamak stalls, Tamil Muslim-owned establishments frequented for their low prices and the variety of Chinese, Indian, and Malay food served 24 hours a day. The stall patrons are diverse -- students mingle with business professionals and families. “It is a unique culture in Malaysia. I live a pretty simple life here in Kuala Lumpur. (For example, my cell phone is only for talking and texting, which seems pretty antique to my friends.) Like many Asian cities,

“There is a consensus that art provokes questions and design gives solutions. In my illustrations, I try to find a balancing point by creating graphic design in an artistic way, or art in a graphical way.” the night life is active here. Hanging out with friends till midnight is usual. We spend time at the local stalls. We also play sports at night a lot (futsal and badminton are popular). The music scene is really diversifying. Mainstream music is still pop, but there is a lot of great underground/alternative music, too. I have been to some shows recently and watched some really cool bands performing here -- Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and Dirty Three. I like a lot of music from the U.S. and U.K., and would like to see more bands come here -- by Sigur Ros, múm, The Strokes, Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, The Arcade Fire. Since I am in Malaysia, I also listen to music from Hong Kong and Taiwan. There is a very cool band from Hong Kong called "My Little Airport.” Despite its political climate, Malaysia is rumored to have one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in Southeast Asia. And access to social media is not limited, lending to Yau Hoong’s identification with a more trans-cultural, cosmopolitan aesthetic. “I try to create images that connect to everyone, not just a particular group of people, nation or culture. At the moment, I prefer to be objective in my illustration. I want to combine art and design in my work. Art is something abstract, subjective, and artistic, whereas Sept. - Oct. 2011


Yau Hoong’s The Haunting Hand from his Negative Space series draws directly from Saul Bass’s iconic Man With the Golden Arm.

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design is clear, straight to the point, and objective. There is a consensus that art provokes questions and design gives solutions. In my illustrations, I try to find a balancing point by creating graphic design in an artistic way, or art in a graphical way.” Stylistically, Yau Hoong is a chameleon—a design historian able to embody different eras without losing his shape. His portfolio of illustrations is an encyclopedia of visual culture, refusing to be grounded in one era or adhering to one style. Much like Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast’s vastly influential Push Pin Studios—founded in the U.S. in the 1950s—Yau Hoong draws unrepentantly from his influences: Bauhaus minimalism, comic art, movie posters, fairy tales, literary themes, and contemporary pop culture equally drive his choices. “I like old-school style a lot. I think Saul Bass's posters

are among the most classic posters ever designed. Art in the 1960s and ‘70s is awesome. I think the pre-computer era is very inspiring, and perhaps this is why I love making designs as simple as possible . . . There are too many great artists that I admire a lot. Rene Magritte, Shigeo Fukuda, Saul Bass, Christoph Niemann, Banksy, Michel Gondry, Rinko Kawauchi, to name a few.” He also finds great inspiration in the work of contemporary illustrators Noma Barr, Guy Billout, Edel Rodriguez, Frank Chimero, and Emiliano Ponzi, who, like Yau Hoong, are insistent in their use of minimal elements. Their craft is visual communication, and they combine the skills of artist, illustrator, and designer to convey their satirically witty messages. Yau Hoong relies on visual puns that evoke double readings, as well as satirical design. But the beauty of Sept. - Oct. 2011

his work lies in his ability to distill a complex message into one deceptively simple, nothing-wasted image with play on negative space. “A single image can provoke different perceptions. While I don't think I can express my thoughts accurately by words, negative space is a ‘visual language’ that conveys a message in illustration. I like the process of discovering the hidden/ opposite element in the illustration. The moment of realization is always nice.” Yau Hoong’s website showcases his stylistic arsenal. His current favorite is his Surreal Light series, a group of illustrations that grew from three images of lamp designs that he’d been toying with. Preoccupied with the intangibility of light and lifting from his interest in product design and architecture, he drew three different lamps--”Book Lamp,” Pouring Lights,” and “Peep.”


“These lamp designs would be really fun if they existed! But a few months ago, when I was setting up my portfolio website, I thought the theme of light and surrealism would be a great one to elaborate on, so I created more images.” Soon, Yau Hoong will be printing posters and selling them through his website. Right now, however, he’s trying to find ways around the lack of materials in Malaysia. He’s planning to use pigment inks and archival fine art paper (Hahnemuhle or Innova) for Gicléestandard, museum-quality prints. Neither the paper nor the inks are easily obtained in his country. His next project is a series of ancient Chinese illustrations for a book series being published in Germany. “I have not done book illustration before, so this is interesting. Because it involves a series of drawings, I will need to keep the style consistent. This is a challenge for me, since I’m always switching my styles. Of course, this will need to look ancient, so I’m thinking of sketching on paper with pencil and pen and then adding some watercolor. I’ll edit in Photoshop. I like this idea, as it might be a good thing to go back to a traditional way of drawing instead of using my tablet. Using a tablet rather than hand-drawing is like spending more time browsing and surfing online than actually reading a book.” Like his influences, Yau Hoong possesses a poignant skill to show us our world anew. His impeccable and orderly style quiets our minds, drawing us in, until it dawns on us that something is askew. His repeated patterns and sense of order lead us to one conclusion, only to be presented with another. He possesses a quiet irony; his images calm ruminations, even when they are depicting a cataclysmic event. He understands the way we process visual information, and he relies on negative space, puns, and ambiguities, using subtle twists to deliver his punch line--and it’s always a delight to be in on his joke.

Sept. - Oct. 2011


[re] WORKING IT Jennifer Piejko

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A work of art is not only created, but also recreated. They say nothing is new. It might not be enough for the frustrated artist in his studio, walls heavy with sketches of abandoned projects caving in around him, but it also must be some small comfort to know that all attempts at true originality are futile, anyway. No work is truly new, but no work is truly ever finished, either. Appropriation has revived many an artwork: collage, covers, and homages are all new works born of other works. What remains unresolved are the limits of artistic license, the point at which one’s work is bled out for the sake of the new one. It’s nothing new: the idea that nothing is new, at least to artists working today. The Dadaists and Surrealists led the way, clearing the road for Andy Warhol to borrow from Madison Avenue and Americana, Sherri Levine from Walker Evans, Cory Arcangel from YouTube. Bands cover other bands’ songs regularly. Filmmakers borrow from the previous generations of filmmakers routinely. When called out on it, they can simply call their film an homage, case closed. As the contemporary art market continues to expand at an exigent rate, established artists attend to their relationships with collectors and their works’ reputations as blue-chip investments as much as they do their critical reception. It comes as no surprise, then, that all this has resulted in a quick expansion of intellectual property and art law. As the market grows, artists have more interest than ever to protect their “brand.” Recently, Janine "Jah Jah" Gordon, a young photographer and member of the downtown art scene, sued superstar photographer Ryan McGinley over alleged intellectual property violations. She claims that he has blatantly stolen her style, including her compositions and photographic processes, choices of subject matter, even her subjects' expressions and poses. A couple of years ago, Richard Prince encountered similar trouble: he was sued over “Canal Zone,” a series of works which lift images from photographer Patrick Cariou's book Yes Rasta . Both cases present a lesser- known artist suing a a more established artist for intellectual property theft, a charge perhaps more muddied in contemporary art practice than in other IP cases. What validates one artist’s claims of intellectual property theft over another’s if appropriation is a distinct category of contemporary art practice, anyway? There must be a reason why appropriation is less offensive to creative spirit than others. What is it specifically that makes the bad cases theft while the good ones intimate just why the original work was so important and valuable in the first place? Whether intentional or not, the advertisements that he shot for Levi's are almost indistinguishable from that of Gordon's. Gordon had issued almost identical images before McGinley started shooting his ad campaign. Gordon feels she was discredited from her intellectual and creative work simply because she is less famous. The Levi's campaign utilizes many of McGinley's trademarks -- carefree youth, bold color, simplicity. Does a simple style mean that McGinley is somehow off the hook, the fact that he is easily copied a suggestion that he could just as easily copy others without consequence? It would be incorrect to assume that ideas shared among peers constitutes theft; young artists often find reassurance and consolation in the work of their peers. Ryan McGinley and Jah Jah Gordon were of overlapping social circles, visiting the same galleries and museum shows, studios of mutual artist friends, gallerists who may have been interested in both of their work. It is likely that they have entertained studio visits from the same critics and curators, maybe received similar feedback, and perhaps had been suggested similar artists to serve as inspiration. It's always possible that dealer Chris Perez, a mutual close friend of both artists, could have cross-pollinated ideas between the two artists. Ryan McGinley, in particular, has modeled much of his early work on that downtown darling of a Sept. - Oct. 2011

previous generation, Nan Goldin. It is no surprise that McGinley's work may be quite similar to that of Jah Jah Gordon. Perhaps it is incidental, or accidental. Perhaps Mr. McGinley honestly didn't have anyone else's work on his mind when shooting and editing his ad campaign; maybe it seemed familiar yet groundbreaking, as much successful advertising does. Gordon's work was familiar, but it may just as easily have been produced by a number of his peers or friends of friends. There is work that is suspiciously similar to that of another artist's, and then there is direct appropriation, making the true meaning of the new artwork impossible to understand unless one is familiar with the original. The second would not be able to exist without establishment of the first. Richard Prince has practiced this for decades, using an image as a first draft, adding notes, and submitting the finished work as a product of his own. Gaining notoriety in the 1970s for his "re-photographs,” or photographs of photographs, his photos of cigarette advertisements, and later, "Canal Zone." "Canal Zone" presents prints of Patrick Cariou's portraits from Yes Rasta, affixing them to canvas, and adding layers of paint, distorting the subjects' facial features and context. Prince and his extensive team of lawyers defended his right to deface the portraits vigorously, claiming that since Mr. Cariou's work is mainly documentary in nature, he has the right to exercise his creative license over them. They claimed that Cariou's work would not have ever become famous had it not been for Prince's appropriation. Prince can claim that his canvases are still valuable without the inclusion of any other artist's images; they are valuable simply because they are his, while Cariou's work remains as valuable in the marketplace as before his reinterpretation- that is, not very. Prince lost the case. Prince has done similar "reworkings" of Willem de Kooning's work as well, cutting out images from his prints and superimposing them onto pornographic material. While it is questionable whether his scribbles and paint drippings have done anything to improve the artistic merit of either Patrick Cariou or Willem de Kooning, the question remains whether Richard Prince retains the right to effectively destroy the artistic vision and intellectual work of another artist for his own advantage. If Prince's "Canal Zone" prints have cost Cariou opportunities to exhibit and sell his work as he has claimed, shouldn't Prince be held liable? It's essentially slander; Prince's work is hardly transformative to the original in any way, even a detrimental way. It's not exactly stealing, as an image is out there for just about anyone to reuse. The value of the original work is not compromised by its reuse - if Richard Prince is to be believed, the second life of a work may be the only thing to give the original any value or attention at all. But the integrity of the second must respect the work of the first. Maybe it doesn't have to. Yes Rasta was released by powerHouse Books more than a decade ago. Does Prince deserve credit for reviving the book's sales and media attention, or does he owe something to Cariou? He destroyed many of those images that Cariou went to great personal and professional lengths to capture, regardless of whether or not those images were ultimately intended for anthropological or artistic use. These lawsuits may be discouraging to the young artistperhaps the direction of art is dictated by the market, so the artist (or gallerist behind them) who can afford expensive lawyers must therefore make the most valuable work. Richard Prince is just defending his brand, which is worth many millions at this point. We can assume that he would just as quickly prosecute anyone who might circulate t- shirts with images of his own canvases. We are reminded once again that nothing is original, anyway. Everything is derivative. Yes, evolution (even on a single work) is inevitable, desirable even. But the first step is equally important, even when it's wrong. Jah Jah Gordon and Patrick Cariou knew that - that's why they didn't take short cuts.


o mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Film Forum, New York’s leading revival and reparatory movie house is curetting a series of police films that celebrate the institution and examine a department hit especially hard that day. Sidney Lumet’s 1973 cop classic, Serpico is the centerpiece of “NYPD,� and viewing the film from this side of history brings to mind doubts and insecurities New Yorkers felt forty years ago and continue to feel today (though for different reasons). Corruption and departmental wrongdoing is much less of an issue now then it was then—rapes and bike-lane bullying aside. New York City has since become a target for global terrorism. Fear transcends the local. The threat of another attack—real or imagined—pervades almost every level of life. And Serpico reflects that uneasiness, a feeling we can connect with while reflecting on the attacks. The film is based on the departmental experiences of Frank Serpico, a Plainclothes “hippie-cop� who exposed rampant police corruption in the late 60s and early 70s. He refused to go on the take from drug dealers, gangsters and local business owners looking for their local precincts to look the other way. His colleagues gladly took what he didn’t, and even used their payoff system as a prerequisite for trust: “How can you trust a cop that won’t take money?� they’d ask him. Money flowed easily from the streets through detectives who doubled as bagmen, trustees who picked up crinkled brown lunch sacks full of cash while making their rounds. Detective Serpico rejected payoffs and favors in every form, refusing not only the money that was inside, but also the meals that were supposed to be (a quid-pro-quo alive and obvious today if you’ve ever been in a New York deli or coffee shop alongside the city’s finest). The big gasp is that Detective Serpico snapped the brotherhood of that bounty. He named names, placed places, dated dates when he testified in front of the Knapp Commission, a formal political investigation that attempted to expose police corruption in 1973. And he was immolated for it. During a sketchy drug bust in Williamsburg, Frank Serpico was shot in the face(!) while screaming for backup from his partners who stood by idly. This incident led to the investigation, the commission, Serpico’s indictment of his fellow of-

ficers and eventually, his escape from the country on a European-bound steamship for fear of persecution. Serpico is staged in real-world New York and its authenticity is undeniable. Shot in 104 different locations in four of the five boroughs, director Sidney Lumet fills his frames with the grey grain that captures that era’s moral fuzz. For Lumet, a director who managed to stay outside Hollywood for the bulk of his career, New York is often an external symbol of his central character’s inevitable downfall. Unlike Woody Allen who is infamous for something similar, Lumet’s city is twisted, interconnected and dark. His New York is even extreme in temperature (the city’s blazing summer day of Dog Day Afternoon keeps bank robber Sonny Wortzik simmering at 211 degrees, until of course he boils over).

actual or imaginary. The city has come a long way since the early 70s, but it was then, as it is now, plagued with civic issues of development and displacement, and on the brink between bust and boom. The oil crisis of ’74 was right around the corner. Drugs were beginning to take hold of neighborhoods. But symbols of the New York’s power sprouted, and the newly completed Twin Towers accounted for a gigantic patch of that growth. Radio Row, a strip of blue-collar businesses devoted to a simpler, localized economy, had recently been razed to make way for the Towers, two monuments to the new global system of finance and complexity. They are visible in the final scenes of the film, as Serpico scouts a drug deal from the roof of the Brooklyn building where he is almost killed. As Serpico, bearded and consumed with fear, peers over the side of the building, the Towers loom in the background like beacons through the morning fog.

That urban landscape stages a slew of lasting themes, including the stress of policing a city at a make or break point in its existence, and the paranoia of becoming a pariah. Both are relevant to New York’s mourning ten years after the attacks at the World Trade Center and nothing makes that more clear than Pauline Kael’s 38-year-old review of the film. In her New Yorker write up, Kael muses: “We have no word, as yet, for justifiable paranoia . . . and in terms of behavior there may not be much difference between living in terror of actual enemies and living in terror of imaginary enemies.â€? It’s difficult not to read her observations without putting them in the frame of post-9/11 society. After the actual enemies inflicted physical damage on 9/11, imagined enemies commanded our attention and have stoked paranoia since. Imagined enemies take hold of Serpico too after he starts reporting the departmental corruption to higher ups in the NYPD. A neighborhood guy in his rookie years, he grows more and more alienated from the blissful naivetĂŠ of his formative years on the force—the ones where he used honest police-work to prosecute thugs on the corners rather than thugs in the cruisers. His suspicions change the way he operates much like the way the attacks altered our country’s rationality. New York, like Serpico, was thrown into a volatile state of alert over threats we’d been conditioned to heed whether they were

Even though Detective Serpico testifies in front of officials and levies charges against the police department Serpico ends unsettled. Neither he, nor the city seemed better off because of the Knapp Commission. True it spurred some reforms, but they were mostly in name and title only. The attacks also pointed to gaps in our system, and they’ve led to lasting changes in the way we navigate our lives. But mostly both the exposure of police corruption and the attacks on 9/11 just made New Yorkers feel exposed and vulnerable. Serpico will be shown on September 10th and 11th at Film Forum, 209 W Houston St‌ Visit filmforum.org for details. Serpico is also available on DVD and Blue Ray.

AUGUST – NOVEMBER 2011

ADMISSION: $12.50 NON-MEMBERS / $7 MEMBERS

REVIVALS & REPERTORY

E RE -

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BY: KEITH CARNE

B N CE E w UY w T W WS IVE w IC EE LE O .fi KE K T U lm T LY TE R R fo S O ru NL m IN .o E rg

serpico

A Nonprofit Cinema Since 1970

209 WEST HOUSTON ST. NEW YORK, NY 10014

BOX OFFICE: (212) 727-8110

E-MAIL: filmforum@filmforum.org

CALENDAR PROGRAMMED BY

BRUCE GOLDSTEIN

Robert Ryan

AUGUST 12-25 • TWO WEEKS

“In movies, I’ve pretty much played everything I’m dedicated to fighting against.�

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AUGUST 21 SUN

PROGRAMMED BY BRUCE GOLDSTEIN

AUGUST 22 MON (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

THE RACKET

SPECIAL THANKS TO MARILEE WOMACK (WARNER BROS.), PAUL GINSBURG (UNIVERSAL), BRIAN BLOCK (CRITERION PICTURES), KENT YOUNGBLOOD (MGM), CAITLIN ROBERTSON (20TH CENTURY FOX), TODD WIENER, STEVEN HILL (UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVE), KATIE FRY, CHRISTOPHER LANE, GROVER CRISP (SONY), DANIEL BISH (GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE), GERALDINE HIGGINS (HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS, LONDON), GARY PALMUCCI (KINO LORBER), AND HADEN GUEST (HARVARD FILM ARCHIVE).

AUGUST 12/13 FRI/SAT

AUGUST 16 TUE (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

      769 C><=I >C  6H6CI> +:B>I:*D7:GI*N6C BJG9:GH ":L>H= L6G =:GD +6B $:K:C: I=: =6I: K>8I>B L6H <6N >C I=: DG><>C6A CDK:A >C I=: BDHI BDD9>AN :MEG:HH>DC>HI>8 HD8>6AAN 8DCH8>DJH `AB D; I=:  H  ]*N6C_H 8G6;IN FJ>:IAN 9:G6C<:9 E:G;DGB6C8: A>;IH >I DJI D; I=: DG9>C6GN ^ [ 6K:#:=G 1:00, 4:05, 7:10, 10:15

THE SET-UP

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 7JGCH L>I= I=: =JB6C>IN I=6I (.04. :22 C:K:G FJ>I: 68=>:K:H ^["03,:9$DC9DC 2:40, 5:45, 8:50

AUGUST 14 SUN (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

THE NAKED SPUR

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BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK

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CITY BENEATH THE SEA

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AUGUST 17 WED (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW

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LONELYHEARTS

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AUGUST 15 MON (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

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CLASH BY NIGHT

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AUGUST 20 SAT (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

BEWARE, MY LOVELY

ACT OF VIOLENCE

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I=:C=:AD8@HI=:9DDG 3:10, 6:20, 9:30

SEPTEMBER 2/3 FRI/SAT (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

NEW 35mm Restoration!

ACT OF VIOLENCE

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

SEPTEMBER 4 SUN (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123

THE DETECTIVE

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

Buster Keaton

ALLDAY H::7:ADL

SEPTEMBER 6 TUE (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

MADIGAN

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REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER

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THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123

SPECIAL EVENT!

All-Day Buster Keaton

Six of Busterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest silent comedies return by popular demand!            

Sept. - Oct. 2011

THE PROFESSIONALS

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AUGUST 24 WED (SEPARATE ADMISSION)

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AUGUST 25 THU

NEW 35mm SCOPE PRINT!  â&#x20AC;&#x153;A wounded man is immediately killedâ&#x20AC;?>H6(*/0415@>C<E>C*D7:GI*N6C_H>GDC8A69A6L;DG=>H<6C<D; 9>H=DCDG67AN9>H8=6G<:9:M H:GK>8:B:C\HDL=N9D:HC_I*N6CL6HI:,*/9-<ANB:G>86CG:8:CIG:8GJ>I*D7:GI+I68@ 6;I:G=:I6@:H67JAA:I9JG>C<6,D@ND6N=:>HI*N6C_H:GHIL=>A:0*/0)(46B:GDC%>I8=:AA_H=NHI:G>86ADJI7JGHIH B6@:>I8A:6G=:L6CIHID@CDL JI+I68@>H6AG:69NGDB6C8>C<`GHI6H67A>C96C9I=:C;DGG:6A=:C8=B6C_HL>9DL +=>GA:N16B6<J8=>HDD;I:CI=:]=>C:H:^<>GA>CL6GI>B:EGDE6<6C96BDK>:HH=:=69IDEGDK:"6E6C:H:E6G:CI6<: ID7:6IEDHIL6GIG:6HDC8=6G<:HL=D>CIGD9J8:H6K:GN"6E6C:H:K6G>6I>DCDCI=:]L6AAHD;":G>8=D^;GDB9(66,4,+ 4,0./9 ;6KDG>I:D;D96G96C9I=:(/0,788GDL9+6BJAA:G_HK:GN;G::G:B6@:D;"/,!97,,9<09/5(3,L6H I=:K:GN`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`<=IDJI B:6C>C<H6ADC<H>9:I=:8=6G68I:GH (6GID;>I>HJAA:GI=:B:G>86CIDJG>HIH=6B:A:HHANG:9J8>C<"6E6CIDHI:G:DINE:H IL>HI>C< AD86A 8DADG ID =>H DLC :C9H ^ [ "03, :9 $DC9DC  ],=: E68=>C@D E6GADGH #67J@> IGDJE: G:6I J99=6 L=>GA>C< <AD7: 6C9 8=:GGN 7ADHHDBH =6K: 6C 6ABDHI HJGG:6A G:A6I>DCH=>E ID I=: 8G>B>C6A 68I>K>I>:H D; 3I=:4 <6C<

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SEPTEMBER 14-22 9 DAYS! 

SEPTEMBER 11 SUN (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

THE NAKED CITY

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PAY OR DIE!

NYPD

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 Exactly ten years ago, we were in the middle of a festival celebrating the New York City police department in movies when the tragedy of 9/11 struck.

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SEPTEMBER 12 MON (2 FILMS

FOR

NEW

35mm

1 ADMISSION)

PRINT!

NOTE: Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s double feature was the program we had scheduled â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but were forced to cancel â&#x20AC;&#x201D; on 9/11/01.

CRUISING

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BAD LIEUTENANT

â&#x20AC;&#x153;A SLAM-BANG THRILLER!

SEPTEMBER 7 WED (2 FILMS

FOR

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

1 ADMISSION)

SEPTEMBER 8 THU (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

HIGH AND LOW

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OUR HOSPITALITY  1:00

THE GENERAL 2:35 STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.  4:10

STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.

starring GENE HACKMAN

CRUISING

SEPTEMBER 13 TUE (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

DETECTIVE STORY

THE WRONG MAN

I WAKE UP SCREAMING

SEPTEMBER 9 FRI (2 FILMS

FOR

1 ADMISSION)

PHANTOM LADY

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I WAKE UP SCREAMING

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CRY OF THE CITY

NEW 35mm RESTORATION!

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SHERLOCK JR.   Playhouse  6:35 SEVEN CHANCES  8:00 THE NAVIGATOR  9:20

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SHERLOCK JR.

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A CRITERION PICTURES RELEASE OF A TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM

SEPTEMBER 10/11 SAT/SUN

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

SERPICO

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BEST PICTURE

WILLIAM FRIEDKINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

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5

WINNER OF ACADEMY AWARDS ÂŽ INCLUDING

â&#x20AC;&#x201C; PAULINE KAEL

BOOKED BY BRUCE GOLDSTEIN

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LIKE AN AGGRAVATED CASE OF NEW YORK!â&#x20AC;?

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SPECIAL THANKS TO BRIAN BLOCK (CRITERION PICTURES), CAITLIN ROBERTSON (20TH CENTURY FOX), KENT YOUNGBLOOD (MGM), SARAH FINKLEA (JANUS FILMS), MARILEE WOMACK (WARNER BROS.), PAUL GINSBURG (UNIVERSAL), MIKE POGORZELSKI, MAY HADUONG (ACADEMY FILM ARCHIVE), ADAM FRANK (LIONSGATE), BRIAN FOX (SWANK), MARK MCELHATTEN, GINA TELAROLI (SIKELIA PRODUCTIONS), KATE BRENNAN (PARAMOUNT), AND MARTIN SCORSESE.

COP HATER

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 (LABOR DAY)

ROBERT RYAN ROBERT STACK

AUGUST 23 TUE

THE PROFESSIONALS

SERPICO

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

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STARRING

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THE ICEMAN COMETH

SEPTEMBER 2-13

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BILLY BUDD

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THE WILD BUNCH

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GODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LITTLE ACRE

(SEPARATE ADMISSION)

INFERNO

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â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SLANT

SAMUEL FULLERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S

AUGUST 24 WED (SEPARATE ADMISSION)

ON DANGEROUS GROUND

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AUGUST 21 SUN

3-D!

AUGUST 18 THU

â&#x20AC;˘ ONE WEEK

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema!â&#x20AC;?

I MARRIED A COMMUNIST

CAUGHT

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LAURA

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AUGUST 19 FRI (2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

HORIZONS WEST

(2 FILMS FOR 1 ADMISSION)

CROSSFIRE

AUGUST 26SEPTEMBER 1

(SEPARATE ADMISSION)

BORN TO BE BAD

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DETECTIVE STORY

LIVE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT BY STEVE STERNER AT ALL SHOWS!

;

Separate admission for each film* Admission $15 for non-members, $7 for members *SHERLOCK JR. AND THE PLAYHOUSE ARE TWO FILMS FOR ONE ADMISSION. THERE WILL BE A BREAK OF APPROX. 1 HOUR BETWEEN FILMS AT 5:30.

SPECIAL EVENT!

te To A Tribu BROTHERS OLAS

THE NICH


FX and Mat By Chad D. Ghiron

16 17

I

n a quant eastern section of the greater London area, in a district called Shoreditch, sits Nexus, a medium sized production house. At two desks facing one another is the animation and directing team, FX and Mat. They’ve been up since 6:30 a.m. working away on their latest project, a live action short film, which only has a working title, and are going to be at it till nearly 11 p.m. before going to bed and starting all over again the next day. “When you’re doing a short film you don’t have a very large budget, so you have to do a lot of it yourself,” FX

said through a tired voice over Skype, “So when you bring people in and don’t pay them much you have to show you’re committed.”

Their success, however, didn’t come over night. It took a lot of hard work and focus and years of crafting their skills to get to this point.

At this point in their career, Francis Xavier Goby (FX), and Matthieu Landour (Mat), don’t have to prove much; their work speaks for itself. Their short animated film, “En Tus Brazos,” which was finished in 2006, has been successfully winning awards in the film festival circuit for the last four years, along with a number of commercials for clients such as Royal Bank of Canada, TMC channel and Coke.

As kids, FX and Mat knew they wanted to be directors; they grew up in different parts of France and didn’t meet each other till much later. FX started at ten years old with a group of friends and a “very crappy, but affordable” VHS video camera, making “stupid horror stories” nearly every weekend. “More or less I knew quite early that I wanted to make films, I just didn’t know they were going to be animated,” FX said. “It’s

Sept. - Oct. 2011


almost by mistake I ended up in animation.” The mistake FX spoke of is from his “many” failed attempts getting into live action film school, finally giving up, and deciding to try his hand in 3D animation at Supinfocom. “I knew how to draw, so I just went for it and have been learning ever since.” Supinfocom, which stands for SUPérieure d'INFOrmatique de COMmunication, or in English, University of Communication Science, is a computer graphic university with three campuses: Valenciennes, in the countryside of Northern France, Arles, in Southern France, and their most recent addition in Pune, India. The school, even though only founded in 1988, is well known in the 3D community for being ranked No.

1 for it’s distribution of student films and prizes they receive in film festivals around the world. In just one graduating class Supinfocom produces one and a half hours of animation, which some studios don’t manage in a year. “It’s one of the first schools in the world to specialize in 3D animation,” said FX. “In the beginning you needed to be crazy to want to do animation, because just to render one frame took 24-hours and it was not even beautiful. It was being really visionary back then to want to do that.” While attending Supinfocom, every student has to present a script as his or her thesis, and just a third of the scripts are selected. FX’s “En Tus Brazos,” which at that point was just a script about a Tango dancing couple, was one of the few to be selected and became the professional peace pipe to how FX and Mat came to be a team. “I wrote a script, but all the 20-year-old kids didn’t like the idea of doing a film about dance, they thought it was a bit boring,” FX said. “So, the only person that was interested in working on it was Mat. I had to team up with him, a complete stranger, but it turned out to be magic.”

Nine months later they were graduating and had finished the beautiful “En Tus Brazos,” which was ready to make its first rounds in the film festivals. Flash forward four years later and FX still has a hard time believing it’s gone this far. “It’s been four years and it just doesn’t stop,” FX said, “It’s crazy, but there’s [sic] not that many animated films about dance and even less about tango and I think we had an amazing buzz in the tango clubs that spread everywhere.”

large area to do animated films, but also everyone hired to the production house has a work space here.” To FX and Mat, Nexus was as close to an artistic haven as they’d found thus far. A place where creative ideas were bouncing around all the time and the people who were able to help with anything you needed constantly surrounded you. “As a director, it’s rare to be offered a big open space where you can be messy and just do your art,” FX said about Nexus.

After Supinfocom, FX needed to find a job and moved from the French countryside to the bustling metropolitan lifestyle of Paris where he started to work as a CG artist for a broadcast company doing “horrible” France broadcast design. “It was my first job, and I thought I was doing something big because it was on TV. I was a little too excited that I was able to do something,” FX said.

FX and Mat took up shop and started working on some of their biggest projects to date, namely an animated Super Bowl commercial for Coke, which shows a Middle Earth-ish battle scene against a group of goblins and furry humanoid-hamsters. As the goblins show up with a dragon you think it’s curtains for the hamster-humans, but they have a delicious frosty beverage up their sleeve and once the dragon drinks the Coke, it’s caputs and the goblin creatures run for their lives.

After a short time, FX decided to leave his job and move forward with what he really enjoyed doing, making animated and live action films, and team back up with Mat. “When you do a film as a student, it’s just the most horrible conditions in the world: you work 17 hours a day, eat badly, you don’t sleep and you don’t get holidays,” FX said, reflecting on the amount of work it took to finish “En Tus Brazos.” “It’s just horrible, but then we never had an argument within a year, so we just thought, ‘Well, this was the worst conditions [sic] ever, if we can work in these conditions then we can work in anything together.’ So, we decided to keep going.”

Doing a commercial for an American audience on one of the most widely watched American events of the year would make you think the creator of the commercial would be able to see their work shown, right? Nope, not the case; “To be honest, it was absurdly frustrating. We don’t have the Super Bowl in France. I mean the Super Bowl is there, but it’s nothing in France, so just to find the channel was a struggle, and it was in the middle of the night and besides that, the channel screening the super bowl had French advertising,” FX said, “So, I waited the whole night watching the super bowl, which I don’t understand, and I didn’t see anything!”

Back together FX and Mat teamed up with a French producer to do their first commercial project for the Royal Bank of Canada, titled “Mr. Long Legs.” The commercial was about a dad with mile long legs who walks his kids around the world till they arrive in Africa for a safari. The commercial went on to be a big success at the film festivals and gave FX and Mat the clout to get their brand off the ground. But, not all was well in the world. “The final product of the commercial had turned out great, but the experience with the producer was really terrible.” FX said.

Now, with a solid footing in their career, FX and Mat continue to pitch commercials for different companies and they’ve made the move from strictly animation to live action short films. At the same time, FX is illustrating a book for a French author. “We just shot a live action short that takes place in the 60s,” FX said, “It’s about a man who gets stuck in a monster costume and terrorizes the town. It’s based on the ‘Zine’s’ from the 60s and is more of a dark comedy.”

Making the choice to not work with the French producer again, FX and Mat left him, but with every door that closes, another opens. At least that was the case for FX and Mat, as they soon after met the producer for Nexus. “[Nexus] is a bit different from all the other companies I’ve been at before,” FX said, trying to quiet down the people around him in the office, “Basically, there is a

The idea for the script had been a few years in the making by the time the final product became tangible. It came as FX was traveling through South America for six-months before going off to college. He’d been in Argentina and was having a good time when he discovered and fell in love with the dance style, Tango. A year later as he started to prepare for “En Tus Brazos,” FX went back to Argentina for a two-month internship in Buenos Aires at a little company and, as luck would have it, happened to meet a guy who was an organizer for the World Tango Championship. “I just told him about my project and he gave me a pass to do whatever I wanted to do during the championship.” FX said. “So, I got the chance to film some of the best Tango dancers in the world for five days.” Arriving back at school with hours of incredible choreography and movements to analyze as they worked, FX didn’t think that was enough. He forced Mat and their other friend who helped on the film to enroll in tango classes to better understand the movements. “It was a bit awkward,” FX laughed, “We spent a lot of time in class dancing to really understand how it all worked.” Sept. - Oct. 2011

As for people they’d like to work with in the future, they don’t have anyone necessarily in mind because they try to bring new people in on each new project. They do, on the other hand, have people they’d love to meet. “I’m really interested by the Cohen Brothers. I’d love to sit down with those guys and just understand them,” FX said, “Also, to meet Gary Larsen, the man who created the Far Side comics, would be a dream.”


Words by Christine Bettis | www.sandra-arteaga-dolls.blogspot.com

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rmisinda Lettuce, The Poor Reducinda Casiceniza, Mumroombda and His Son Mupbup, and Throot. No, this is not my very exotic dinner salad ingredient list. These are the names of just five of the hundreds of dolls in Sandra Arteaga’s collection of her creative consciousness manifest. A look into this collection gives one a sense of this Barcelona based artist’s unbridled imagination and her interest in both the darkness and kindness imbedded in creatures unfamiliar to man.

Sandra’s main muse is the movie The Labyrinth. She saw it for the first time with her best childhood friend when she was seven years old. “When the film finished, my brain was so busy like a sack full of epileptic cats and my heart was beating so hard that the same day was named King of the Planet of the Drums.” Sandra is the type of person that lets herself get carried away; can you tell? Even before she watched The Labyrinth, 18 she was a whimsical child: sprawled out on the floor, 19 daydreaming of other worlds, surrounded by blank paper waiting to be filled. Sketches are not involved in Sandra’s artistic process, and her characters almost always start off with a rebellious disposition, from which a skeleton of wire is spun, blanketed in aluminum foil, and then molded into a phantasmagoria of polymer clay, acrylic paint, feathers, textiles, and glass eyes. Those glass eyes are precisely what draw me to Sandra’s dolls. Unlike authentic eyes that begin to dim in small doses the second they open, artificial eyes can always be counted on to have light in them. Her paintings and prints have a somewhat creepier aesthetic than her dolls. White-eyes, sunken faces, little

horned boys and skeleton-faced girls are a few of the identifying characteristics of Sandra’s 2-D work. When I asked her if she was a dark person that had a fuckedup childhood, she replied, “Well, I actually get so surprised when some people tell me that my work is scary or too dark. The truth is that I get very sad when people say these things, I do not see it absolutely. It is true that I make monsters and strange creatures, perhaps they are not lovable creatures from a standpoint of classical beauty, but I can never see my creatures as something negative or evil. No matter how ‘ugly’ they are, I always look into its eyes and I do not see evilness.” Sandra’s art seems to be a reflection of her rock solid belief in Creationism. Just kidding. When I questioned her about her religious beliefs, she kept her answer brief (not wanting to offend anybody), and quietly labeled herself an atheist. “I believe in the power of imagination, in the effort, the restless spirits, in the questions rather than in the answers, in music, science, dreams and friendship”. She finds inspiration in silent films, science fiction, history, literature, and a myriad of other things. Boredom is a foreign concept to her. “I have never understood when someone says ‘I'm bored, I don't know what to do’ What?! How can exist the boredom? There are always so many possibilities.” When she does nothing, she has no energy. She sees work as the anchor in her life, and the day only having 24 hours gives her anxiety. During her workday, Sandra needs both music and art to keep her going. Her favorite artists include, but are not limited to: Ray Bradbury, Terry Gilliam, David Bowie, Billie Holiday, Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, José Saramago (emphasis on the “but are not limited to” because Sandra claims this list could go on for “nine lives and a half”).

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It’s safe to say that Sandra has a hyperactive imagination. She has churned out more than 400 dolls in the past three years, as well as numerous pieces of jewelry, illustrations, post cards, prints and paintings (all available for purchase on her Etsy page). She does not do custom work because she staunchly refuses to adapt to someone else’s rules. She has recently made fifteen dolls and some props for a stop-motion short that will begin shooting this year. Because of her multiple interests and her resistance to constrain her career in a cage, Sandra has no idea what is next for her.


Words by Hannah Palmer-Egan | www.briandickersonart.com

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ne day in Ireland, Brian Dickerson took a wrong turn on his daily walk. He stumbled across an abandoned farmhouse, strangely familiar to him. “There was just something about it,” he recalls. He snapped a picture.

Dickerson was doing a residency at Ballinglen, an international arts foundation based in Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland. His cottage was four miles from his studio in town, so he walked. Morning and night, over ancient roads along the Irish coast, overlooking cliffs into the Atlantic. “That became the best part of the day,” he says, “It was magical.” Months later, Dickerson came across the photograph of the abandoned house. It was “Identical to [a] painting I did in the fifth grade. You can put one right on top of the other and they’re identical: the house, the chimney, the tree, those bushes at the bottom, the way the road curved, the mountain in the background, identical.” He vividly remembers painting the scene as a child: “It was like an out of body experience when I made this painting . . . Everything just seemed to fall into place.” Young Dickerson thought it was so good, he sent it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a “really nice, printed letter,” (on Mom’s stationary) for exhibition at the museum. They didn’t bite. “I’m still waiting for a response,” he laughs. In 1969, Dickerson moved to New York City. “I was supposed to go to art school, but I didn’t go . . . It just

wasn’t a good fit,” he says. Instead, “I basically wandered around the museums and galleries.” He encountered modern art for the first time. He earned a BFA and MFA years later, but, “That first week in New York City was when I learned about the world.” In July, the self-described “small town boy” returned to New York for an impressive solo exhibition at the Kouros Gallery, ten blocks from the Met. At first glance and out of context, Dickerson’s paintings could be artifacts from America’s industrial past: something found coated in grimy metal dust at an abandoned rust-belt factory, beautifully manufactured; strong.

(or two), into each piece, allowing the viewer to peek in, but not too far: the apertures go nowhere but the viewer’s imagination.

Dickerson’s process involves “A lot of physical labor;” he fashions wood into a base form, then layers it with paint. He scrapes it off again, leaving a thin layer, sometimes just a residue. He repeats this over and over, adding and removing material until he gets it right. “A lot of it is intuitive, knowing there might be something there, but not knowing [what] until you start,” Dickerson says.

Dickerson’s vocabulary also includes the notion that “nature always wins out in the end.” He is interested in architecture, even teaches perspective and rendering at two colleges in Philadelphia, but respects nature’s power above all. His students are graduating into a different world than the one he entered in the seventies.

Sometimes, he’ll hack off part of a painting if it’s not working; sometimes he does this after years of work. Dickerson began “The Gypsy and the Troll” in 2006, and showed it in 2007 under another title. Then, he whacked off 18 inches and reworked it. The latest rendition was at Kouros this summer. As a set, the paintings are dark-ish, not quite monochrome: Reinhardt blacks lay over umbers, ochres and slates, punctuated by flirtations in Rothko whites and Wyeth siennas. The general mood is that of a deep, brooding tenor which, coupled with color, gives the work a particular gravity. Dickerson builds an aperture

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The pieces examine the artist’s relationship with time, space and landscape. When he was six, Dickerson’s brother died in a fishing accident. “After that, I started to question what I was listening to in church. I couldn’t put the two together, it [wasn’t] working for me.” He is careful not to overstate the event’s impact on his work, but admits the inevitable nods to loss and visual crossexamination of his Sunday School upbringing.

To young artists, Dickerson poses this question: “What [do] you want to say with your art, and how important is that to you?” He continues: “I think the other part, about how you [will] make a living, or how you [can] apply this in some way, that shouldn’t be the primary question, if you’re really serious about it.” He seems to trust that a living, etc., will work its way into the details. For Dickerson, this meant living nearly thirty years in Philadelphia, “basically for the job,” he says. “I still can’t bring myself to say I’m a Philadelphian.” Home is still in Upstate, New York, “near my hometown . . . and in Ballycastle, Ireland.”


Words by Matthew Lambert | www.jthreeconcepts.com

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ix years ago Canadian born Jared K Nikerson, owner and operator of Jthree Concepts located in Seattle, Washington, received a commission for 13 promotional wallpapers for Suicide Girls, and the rest, as they say, is history. Prior to the company’s burst onto the design scene, Nikerson had been an art designer for a clothing company in Germany, and he is also the cofounder of Blood Sweat Vector. The Suicide Girls project opened doors for Nickerson both artistically and with regard to marketing his business. Maintaining an individual style and refusing to imitate, Jthree Concepts has worked with cli-

20 21 ents such as Apple, Adidas and Threadless, as well as a plethora of other clients. Their designs this year include posters for tour lineups for the likes of Eminem and Rhianna, and various new cases for Ipad. The allowance for creative freedom (with the exception of dealing with a few "problematic clients") shows in the work produced by Jthree Concepts and the passion for what they do shines throughout the work.

The discussion of branding will eventually include overexposure and overuse of work. To Nickerson, "There is definitely a possibility of something being ‘over-used’ by a client, but that's just how it goes. In the end, it's all press and exposure." Perhaps a case of any press is good press? The thing that makes Jthree Concepts stand out among other branding companies, according to Nickerson, is its "consistencies/ thematic elements in my own style, so that makes the project stand out from something done by another artist. Depending on what the client wants, it might be a new idea, or something popular at the time, I try to add my own style/take on that element/theme. I always present my own ideas on what I can bring to the project, what I can do, within my style, to make the project stand out." Individuality has never been a problem for Nickerson or his company. Jthree Concepts has become notorious for the mixture of the grotesque cute. Pieces of his work include text that reads “humanity has raped my soul,” and dark representations of Disney characters. When asked what the reasons were for the gravitation to this combination, Nikerson replied, "It seems to have a little more universal appeal and it’s a lot more fun to create." And when asked how to create compromise between clients and creativity, it’s about trying to express "personal ideas,” "creativity, & feedback," and having pride in the work that is done; making something that is portfolio worthy while still producing a product the client will be happy with. Nickerson hasn’t let success in the art and design world go to his head. “I’m just a normal guy doing what I do,” he tells Computer Arts magazine. Jthree Concepts is producing original, fresh ideas for companies to present to the hungry

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masses. Jared Nickerson's style is a refreshing take and a change of pace within branding imagery, and he is branching out into producing music and exploring his options and talents in the musical field. We look forward to seeing what comes next.


Words by Joseph Baron-Pravda | www.lukejerram.com

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hilst those words are from the polymorphic deep and wide thinker, R. Buckminster Fuller, they well could have passed the lips of one of his potential successors, one Luke Jerram of Bristol, UK. What follows is my justification for so seemingly bold an imprimatur. Possessing a strong academic aptitude for math and the physical sciences, young Luke “used the force,” i.e., the force of the arts pulled him, with the promise of "fun." And this allusion to his eponymous sky-walking counterpart is literally expressed via his Sky Orchestra undertaking, prompted by his sojourn in the deserts of Tunisia (the very locus of many of the scenes in the Star Wars film epic). "I went there to explore perception, its edges, and there, in my case, the silence, punctuated by the cries from the minarets, affected me such that it formed a mental map in my head, which lead to the Sky Orchestra," the artist told me, his passion for perceptual studies quite evident. This project, consisting of hot air balloons aloft emitting music so as to influence dreamscapes of those asleep below, was inspired by his ephiphanic experiences in Tunisia.

The artist spoke movingly about his fascination with perception, and the sensory deprivation of it via what is called an anechoic chamber. "I want to explore the edges of human sensibility," he explained. This very English concept, written of by such Jeffersonian inspirations as John Locke, in his “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” (1690), came through when Luke Jerram described its inspirational effects upon him: "This anechoic isolation lead me to the desert silence experiences, which gave rise to other projects as well, all concerned with mental imagery from silences." One particular deprivation exercise which touched me personally as both a native New Yorker and father of one who was dangerously close to the Twin Towers on 9/11 (my son was late to a law school class or would have been directly under Ground Zero at the second plane's impact) was his Falling Man reenactment via a parabolic aircraft out of Star City, Russia's space port. When I related this to him, he was most gracious: "It's a very sensitive thing, and I fully respect and honor that." This, itself brave on several levels, persuaded me that far from sensationalizing the tragedy, Jerram symbolically pulled us into the sensation viscerally, the only way it can be understood.

used advisedly, as his translucent sculptures of viruses have both brought 3D clarity to a previously cartoonish representation of them in otherwise scholarly tomes. His scientific keenness ever in evidence, his color-blindness caused skepticism about these inadequate images.

Indeed, the sky's also the limit insofar as his range of interests and polymorphous works. That last term is

Like the microbiological subjects he depicts in both scientific medical journals in 2D and in 3D in the growing number of pharmacological firms seeking to display his true-to-life glass creations of microbial life, his range is utterly protean. Proteus, Bucky Fuller, Luke Jerram: all evolving 'verbs' of the universal language of the arts and sciences.

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"I designed 100% of it, my Aeolus structure, then handed it off to CAD for further development over some three years," he advised. It was similarly inspired by Muslim artfulness in Iran. "The wind wends through the tubes which are configured onto a spherical base, itself featuring precise repeating geometric shapes." When I blurted out Fuller's famous Buckyball, he understood rather humbly the lofty attainment this work represents. No brief portrait of this ingenious artisan would be sufficient without a word, his words, when asked about his reaction to having been bookended, as it were, betwixt DaVinci and Warhol in a Japanese exhibition: "Of course, it was a genuine pleasure and honor, although, I must say I was rather disappointed when they didn't attend."


Words by Gina Conn | www.michelkeck.com

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hatting on the phone with Michel Keck was like talking to a mid-western Barbie. Bubbly and sweet, she called me “honey” constantly. I usually find that condescending, but with Michel I found it oddly charming. We spoke on the phone because she doesn’t understand Skype, which I also found charming. Michel was born and raised in small town Indiana, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Instead of donning the typical artist style, she looks more like a sorority chick. On her Facebook fan page you’ll find photos of her drinking margaritas with gal pals and being groped by shirtless mud covered men. But inside her sugary telephone demeanor and party girl image I found a strong inner core. This girl does not give a fuck. She does what she wants how she wants and that self-sufficiency and rebellious attitude has helped her slaughter the competition within the online art community.

Her abstract art varies from brightly colored numbers to stylized stormy paintings that scream doom and gloom. She is available to be commissioned for religious and spiritual creations, and she creates recycled art. My favorite product of her creativity is her fun and poppy mixed media art. She has a collection of colorful dog collage art inspired by her beloved German Sheppard and Greyhound. She is collaborating with Nordstrom; the department store uses her mixed media work in their high fashion “Savvy Department.” Although she’s been painting and drawing since basically birth, her career blossomed through an uncomfortable experience. She claims that after receiving shots of the birth control Depo Provera she developed severe migraines, painful muscle stiffness, and even Bell’s Palsy; half her face became paralyzed. She was put in touch with a nutritionist who turned her on to a raw food diet, which Michel credits with saving her

health. It also ignited her painting career. She made friends with an artist in the raw food community who encouraged Michel to sell her artwork on Ebay. Michel found it absurd at first, but not so absurd when she blew up as an artist earning sales on average of over 20,000 a month. She became one of the top selling selfrepresented artists on Ebay and invested everything she made back into her business. She is now one of the most successful self-represented artists on the Internet. This is quite impressive seeing how Michel’s only formal training were a few art classes back in high school and those “were really lame.” She just turns on the tunes and lets her emotions guide her. “I just do it.” She says it’s like breathing to her, which explains why she pays no mind to explaining her work. She also pays no mind to negativity. When I asked her if friends and family have been supportive she first answered yes and then giggled saying, “If anyone wasn’t supportive I haven’t paid any attention, because I always just do things on my own.” She also does things her own way. She has been deemed unconventional, not because of her artistic methods, but rather the method that she markets her work. She uses modern tools and technology to get ex-

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posure. She sells cell phone skins of her abstract pieces on her website, resulting in repulsion from other artists. Michel’s reaction to their disgust? “I don’t give a crap! Maybe somebody can’t afford a $3,000 painting but they can afford a $10 phone skin, and still enjoy the art. I love that!” And she isn’t afraid to admit she is a Britney Spears fan, either. The princess of Internet art is a proud owner of a Dolce and Gabanna vest once worn by the princess of pop. “I put it on when I get drunk at the parties over here and my friends give me a hard time about it.” Hardly leading a life of solitude, Michel admits to having a very active social life. But, not lately. “ I had a really bad breakup with a 24-year-old, so I’ve been spending some time alone.” Well, even super social artists need to brood sometimes. Right now, Michel is working on a project for a Playboy anniversary party that will be held at a restaurant her friend owns. She is making pop art using 1950s vintage porn for the event. Michel is hoping to continue focusing on her mixed media work, and plans to incorporate in it her own photography.

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Words by Tara Mcevoy | www.stuartmatthews.eu

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he sun rises. A fisherman walks to work. A cyclone tears through a rural area, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. And one man is there to capture it all. Stuart Matthews, a young British photojournalist has, for the past few years, been documenting Bangladesh’s continuing struggles with climate change. Not that that’s how he would put it, though. “I would say that my work is a form of ‘anti-photojournalism’’’, he reflects, “I am interested in global political issues; however, I prefer to see what the impact is after the world’s media has moved on to another event.” Yet Matthews does acknowledge that he considers photography “a way of investigating and telling stories,” inspired by Sebastião Salgado and his ability to produce thought provoking shots. A former student of Plymouth College of Art, he excelled in a photography course, yet muses that, “It wasn’t until after graduating that I decided to move away from Street Photography and concentrate on stories that had more journalistic content.” His time at Plymouth did, however, give him the chance to hone his skills while exploring different cultures. In 2007, he travelled to China to document the rise of one of the greatest super powers of the 21st Century. “The way I work has changed since then,” he admits, but he remains grateful for the lessons he learnt there; particularly, “how difficult it is for a Western journalist to blend into a foreign culture and environment.” So, how has he adapted to working in a startling array of environments? “I think you need to be honest with yourself about why you are there and what story you’re trying to tell. I am very open with the people that I photograph and my intentions are clear to them,” he asserts. “The longer you spend with a subject the more

they become relaxed and lose interest in you, allowing you freedom to discover.” This approach has served him well, allowing him the chance to produce some of his best work, as inspired by “the spirit and generosity” of the people he’s met on assignment, and their “openness” in sharing their stories with him. Be that as it may, doesn’t the presence of a camera ever alter his subjects’ behaviour, I wonder? “Yes,” concedes Matthews, “I think I think that we are very conscious and aware of the power of photography. You need a lot of patience with some subjects, blending in and becoming part of the scenery, but you have to keep focussed so that when the shot becomes available, you capture it.” And capture it he will and truly has, his latest body of work documenting concisely and powerfully the struggles facing Bangladeshi people. It’s something he feels strongly about, and this passion continues to shine through in his photography. He considers a shot of a fisherman tying his boat up along the Sonavory River to be his best, as it, “captures in one shot the plight of the Bangladeshi people in their struggle against the changes in the environment.” Why does he feel so strongly about it, I enquire? “Climate change is a subject that is widely talked about by governments and politicians and yet the people, I feel, are largely unaware of the day to day impact it is having on people’s lives,” he explains, “With all the other flashpoints currently around the world, Bangladesh seems to be largely forgotten and yet the impact climate change is having on this land is prolific. I have been inspired by their shear relentless determination to adapt their villages to these threats.” For all the problems facing those he photographs,

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though, Matthews remains optimistic about the continued importance of photojournalism in documenting their plight. “I feel that photojournalism has a really interesting future with multimedia, paid-for content, crowd funding and independent publishers. I can only see positives in creating space for important stories to be shown.” One suspects that, with such an impressive portfolio behind him at this early stage in his career, Stuart Matthews’ own important stories will be playing a key role in British photojournalism for many years to come.


Words by Alyssa Coluccio | www.jasonsnyderart.com

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nspiration can often be spurred in the most mundane of moments: parked at a red light with the car radio blaring, drifting into thought halfway through somebody else’s speech, lying in bed counting the cracks in your ceiling. This can be said for the artistic process of Miami based artist, Jason Snyder. “A great deal of ideas come to me in the moments I lie in bed just before I fall asleep.” Just as ideas have been spurred from the most basic of moments, so too has inspiration come from the most basic of forms. Most notably, Snyder’s latest artistic endeavor: hair. Building on his stirring collection of oil paintings done using a wood-based canvas, Snyder has created a collection that manipulates the most basic of human characteristics in odd, moving, and brilliant ways. “For me, [hair] has become a useful tool in illustrating certain concepts and emotions,” explains Snyder, “It’s much more subtle than a facial expression and much more versatile, so I can say what I want and bring in facial elements to the piece to complement the idea.” The paintings cover a wide range of emotions, just as they cover a wide variety of hairstyles, all of which certainly convey Snyder’s original intentions of using something so mundane to comment on deeper issues and hidden complexities.

There are the multiple portrayals of tight updo’s fin24 ished with loose tendrils, executed to form bug-like personas and jellyfish-like creatures. There’s the deli25 cate, rolled bun punctured through with what appears to be a sharpened stick, looking much like a ball of yarn struck with a needle, yet hinting at darker connotations with the title, “the lengths that she would go to.” There’s the unsettling “twisted,” which highlights bloodshot eyes surrounded by a mass of twisted braids. Most striking, however, is “exhorcism,” a piece that features a sullen woman with cherry lips, dark eyes, and haunting figures which seem to escape from her otherwise manicured dark strands.

What can be derived from such intricacies is an attention to details that can only be seen with the eye of a keen observer. “Each piece starts out with some idea, usually an emotion based on someone around me or current events,” says Snyder. Looking at the array of characters represented in his paintings, it is clear that Snyder pays careful attention to his surroundings. This precision could stem from his years of studying architecture and engineering. “I can’t say that my field of study has directly influenced my choice in materials,” Snyder says, commenting on his preference to use wood-based canvas, “but I do think that the order and tightness of my pieces has a direct correlation to my training as an engineer.” When browsing through his catalogue, which dates back to 2005, it’s easy to see how this order and tightness that Snyder refers to has significantly increased with time. Earlier paintings often portrayed innocent figures painted in bright colors with edgy personas or subject to dark themes. The result was provocative and effective, but, as Snyder put it, “a bit ironic.” Moving from Washington D.C. to Miami, FL inspired the artist to “match [his] palette a bit more with what [he was] trying to say.” The Miami art scene is one of vibrancy and color, island and street, “an outdoor museum” of sorts, as Snyder puts it. Through this eclectic mix of art and culture, Snyder notes that the scene is dominated by “vibrant, primary colors and a simplistic, childish style,” much attuned to his earlier style of painting. Snyder attests his decision to shift artistic direction as, “perhaps a subconscious way to get away from some of [this] predominate local art.” Individuality, as well as honesty, is certainly a strong testament to Snyder���s work. Each piece is done with a precision, depth, and integrity that has created a growing buzz about his artwork. In a recent collaboration with MusicSkins, two of Snyder’s paintings were hand selected by company owner Vince Bartozzi, and reformatted into skins for iPods, laptops, and cell phones. This past May, his work received great feedback and a new audience of art enthusiasts at Ohio’s Rivet Gallery

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Show. And though what lies ahead for Snyder is sure to appear through some new encounter or ordinary experience, his thoughtful viewpoint and deep take on reality is sure to bring his work continued success.


Words by Ben Dayton

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oung artist, Levi van Veluw has already gained international acclaim, and with a new series of immersive installations, he’s expanded his oeuvre out of a singleportrait template and into the realm of more complex narratives. Best known as a photographer—he won the Fine Arts Photographer of the Year Award at the IPA International Photo Awards in the USA in 2007—van Veluw also works in the third and fourth dimensions, creating emotive sculpture and video. Although working across many mediums, there is a strong cohesiveness to his work. His materials change, but his craftsmanship has remained constant. In most of his works, van Veluw uses his own body to undermine a viewer’s assumptions, both about the metaphorical implications of the human figure and also about the materials he uses to adorn, or replace the significance of the figure. “I think art has always been about putting the ‘normal’ world in a different context,” says van Veluw. In photos of himself neatly covered in gravel, strips of carpet, or ballpoint pen, or using a cast of his own bust in a similar position and covered in patterns of wood and other ordinary materials, van Veluw reduces his self-portrait to a form outside of its traditional context. “I wanted to approach the head as an object instead of a person,” says van Veluw. “The materials were carefully combined with the face to achieve a perfect balance.” What results is that the material comes to the fore and begs to be reevaluated. A viewer is then invited to see both the material and the figure in a new light. Because the features of the human bust are minimalized, a viewer can also easily project themselves into the work, thus experiencing a personal connection to the material and participate in the reevaluation of values we assign to ourselves and the world we inhabit. In the Landscape series, van Veluw covered busts of

www.levivanveluw.nl

himself with miniature scenes reminiscent of landscape paintings or a park you might walk through on an afternoon stroll. This creates a disorienting and dynamic sense of scale wherein the bust and the landscape are both viewed differently. “I was searching for something that is just as common as a human face. A landscape is a strong element that was able to compete with my head,” says van Veluw. “For example, I like the confusion between the scale of my head and the scale of the landscape; is [the piece] 30cm or 300m? These works are all about putting elements and their associations in a different context.” Is the landscape tiny, or is the head enormous? And how you feel about your own body in relation to these works depends on how you answer that question. Viewing the Landscape series creates a fun and a pleasantly disorienting feeling that may make your next walk through the park a little more magical. Levi van Veluw has proven he can manage the fantastic on large scales as well. His more personal new series, The Origin of the Beginning, incorporates three life-size rooms. Each room expresses a scene, or memory, from the artist’s childhood and attempts to elucidate his fascination with materials and patterns; a personal history made public. “For about three years I made several series with selfportraits. These portraits consisted of different materials and patterns. In Origin of the Beginning, I try to visualize the period in my life in which these fascinations for textures and patterns originated. In these works the camera zooms out, and you see the world behind the portraits that were more abstract instead of personal. I created my bedroom three times. Each room is inspired from a different period of time. These periods each contain a small story, which are key moments in the beginning of my own brand of self-portraiture,” says van Veluw.

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“For instance, in Origin of the Beginning 3, you see a room with wooden balls. At the left, all the balls are organized in a symmetrical pattern. All glued one by one so you can see the struggle to get everything straight. At the right, all the balls became part of chaos. This refers directly to a recurring nightmare where I desperately try to control the rolling balls to prevent chaos. This work is about finding control, obsessive ideas, and structuring and organizing the world around me.” Levi van Veluw continues to create wonder and contemplation about the ever-fascinating and often chaotic world we inhabit and how we participate and conceptualize ourselves within it.


Words by Tara Mcevoy | www.amadawachobtattoo.com

A

s Jack London once quipped, “Show me someone with a tattoo and I’ll show you someone with an interesting past.”

Perhaps the living embodiment of this statement is Amanda Wachob, tattoo artist with NYC’s Daredevil Tattoos and self-confessed “ornithology studier, pickle back shot appreciator and professional wise-ass.” Herself sporting a full sleeve of dancing girls, as well as her favourite tattoo (a large moth based on an antique print, as executed by Ghostprint’s Thea Duskin), Wachob’s intriguing past is no less colourful than her body art. A former student of Purchase College, New York, she majored in photography. Her time at university was to prove influential, as she was familiarized with the city’s wider arts scene: “It was so valuable, having access to an art community that had open dialogues, critiques about the work we produced.” After having her first tattoo (a Ziegfeld Follies flapper) inked onto her arm, she caught the bug and chased an opportunity to break into the field of tattooing, “extremely excited and eager to try a new craft.” Did this provoke any negative responses, I probe? “No, everyone was really supportive of me’,” she reminisces fondly. “My Grandfather visited when I first began my apprenticeship. I showed him a new tattoo on my arm he said, ‘That’s lovely. It could use a little more red.’” Though one suspects negative feedback may not have

deterred the young artist. She confesses that she “tends not to pay attention” to any negative perceptions of her art: “There will always be naysayers. Other people’s opinions don’t bother me.” Neither, it transpires, do requests to have unusual locations tattooed: “Quite honestly, I’m over tattooing buttcheeks!” The recent surge in popularity of programmes such as Miami Ink provokes a similar disinterest on Wachob’s part. “It seems to me, that tattoo TV shows are entertainment, not reality” she decides, “They feel pretty manipulated and scripted. In general, I’m not a fan of TV though. I’d rather be in my studio making art.”

be mandatory for tattooists. “I’m a little torn on that one,” she confesses, “because I know a lot of talented self-taught tattoo artists. What I think is important is to have a strong desire to learn and evolve as an artist. I don’t think someone can necessarily teach you that. However, purchasing bootleg equipment and slapping haphazard tattoos on your friends in an unsterile environment isn’t a responsible way to approach the craft. Tattooing is not an easy thing to learn, and, in general,

And what art it is – ranging from the abstract to the conceptual, the big and bold to delicate and understated. A large part of the brilliance of Wachob’s work may be attributed to her eagerness to experiment – “I love tattooing in many styles. If I do the same thing for too long, it starts to feel stale. I think people most know about my colour work, but I actually really love working in black and grey.” Yet her greatest influences aren’t fellow artists, but family and friends. Her two sisters, in particular, have provided a tremendous source of inspiration, as she admits to admiring the “heart and courage with which they pursue their passions.” Heart and courage, then, must run in the family, as Wachob’s work is infused with a clear passion for her craft. This is evident as she reveals an apparent ambivalence towards the question of whether or not training should

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it will be easier to advance if someone helps you.” While we’re on the subject of artistic evolution, I ask, of which of the pieces she’s done so far has she been proudest? “I feel proud when I make my clients happy,” Wachob states simply. From what we’ve seen so far, she’ll doubtlessly continue to achieve this many times over in the future.


Words by Hannah Palmer-Egan | www.teaganwhite.com

T

eagan White is not afraid of death. She addresses the topic squarely; in the way another person might consider the price of chicken at the grocery, or the temperature of diner coffee.

To her, it’s an everyday kind of matter, and she thinks everyone should see it that way. “Mortality is viewed as this negative horrible thing,” she says. “Conventional Christian views [tend to] deny death as a positive, but [at death], the body becomes part of everything else.” This could be an unassuming rebellion against her Catholic upbringing, or simply a natural interest. Either way, the atheist White is a frank advocate of the Reaper in all his glory. “I’d like people to consider [death’s merit],” White says, “It’s just such an airtight, well-developed thing. It’s admirable, not to be feared.” The 21-year-old artist says this earnestly but admits she has limited experience with the matter. “[I’m] more interested in mortality on a philosophical level than a personal one,” she said in a recent email. On a most basic level, White seems fascinated with that which is nearly used up but lingers still. She examines life’s fleeting existence in an accessible, everyday way, offering a fresh, at times beguiling, and quite often literally close-up perspective. Her aesthetic is informed by subjects delicate with age or built-in impermanence. Like insects, for example, whose lives can span a few short days. During that time, “They recycle everything,” White says ruefully, then launches head-first into a speedy discussion about interconnectedness, “residuals,” and the overall “elegance” of bug construction. “They’re really beautiful,” she concludes, “And more interesting than birds or butterflies, or the stereotypical pretty imagery that we see a lot.”

her enthusiasm is contagious. And it’s getting her clients. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design senior has forged a niche for herself at a remarkably young age. She has two children’s books in the works. Her client list is exceptionally long and includes big names like Target, Nike and Anthropologie. At 21, White works harder and longer than most college seniors: “I get up really early, and work until I go to bed,” she says. That old, romantic vision of the starving artist holds no allure for her. She remembers when, “I almost felt like I was going to be a sell-out… as an illustrator, and I really wanted to be the starving artist stereotype,” then quips, “But, I’ve definitely gotten over that.” At this point, the interview is interrupted by a huge blue-green cicada, who torpedoes through the open window into my chest. I shriek, batting at it frantically. It darts toward the light on the ceiling and gets caught in the glass shade. Buzzing intently, it’s making that loud cicada noise as it battles to escape. I try to ignore it and focus Teagan’s words, coming through the phone line. Eventually it stops, and I silently wonder if it’s dead. Even more silently, I hope it’s not dead. Teagan is discussing “this idea of being insanely detailed, yet simple,” particularly with regard to her typography. In one series, she inks hundreds of strands of hair into eight-inch letters, which seem to wisp up off the edge of the page. Finely drawn blades of grass and twigs grow together to form punctuation symbols with such detail that you half expect an ant to crawl out from a hiding place. White’s interest in type may stem partially from bygone career aspirations: “I always wanted to be a writer or a

While shying away from the “traditionally pretty,” White stays true to her graphic impulse while exploring darker concepts, like death and decomposition. With this in mind, talking with White feels almost ironic; in conversation, she is light, expressive and efficacious. She speaks fast, and gets excited about little things like dirt and bugs and dead things and “anything that’s old and decaying,” but

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poet, [but] I’m not actually good with words,” she says, laughing. “I feel like that’s what I was really meant to do, but I can’t do it, so I do art instead. But, I like to not have to be really specific… with art I can just draw something and let people take [away] what they want to.” The cicada buzzes back to life in the lampshade. I sigh in relief, a little self-conscious of the relief I feel that the bug is still alive, after our recent mortality discussion. When the cicada rests again, it’s for good. As the interview closes and I hang up the phone, I try to rejoice: its body will soon return to being part of everything else.


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Pork & Mead - Art - Sep/Oct