Thanks Sprayground for an awesome event. A few bags might still be available tomorrow early afternoon @sprayground #ConArtistxSprayground #conartistcollective #conartistnyc

Speaking With Iron Man: A Talk With Artist RJ Supa

In collaboration with the chasama arts organization, Con Artist collective member RJ Supa has just completed the third installment of his performance art series, Iron Man

Using chasama’s midtown space on W. 37th Street, we had the pleasure of partaking in Iron Man 3 where the audience is invited to become performers themselves and provide ‘canvases,’ articles of clothing RJ incorporates in the piece by ironing. Check out our chat with RJ and more info on the Iron Man series below. 

Tell us a little about the start of the Iron Man series. What were some of your foremost inspirations in creating it and why?

Iron Man began in 2009 as a site-specific performance/installation. I was co-curating a show, Hell, No!, at an old convent in Brooklyn and there was a laundry facility that was empty. I had been introduced to the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles almost immediately upon moving to New York and was enthralled with her Touch Sanitation and Manifesto for Maintenance Art. There was something quietly subversive about the work and I wanted to do something similar, playing with gender, the idea of work as art. Yet I also wanted to flip it a bit and create the artist as “other.” The artist as someone so important (self-important) that even though I was providing a menial service you couldn’t have access to me, I was behind glass, a caged animal and/or a protected “other,” a special-class citizen. I wanted to deal with class and gender and explore the idea of a man doing what is typically “women’s work.” Also there are lots of art historical references to ironing including Picasso’s Ironing Woman and Degas.

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There were also the obvious pop-culture references, a particular passion of mine, including the Robert Downey Jr. movie franchise and the Black Sabbath song — hyper-masculine representations of men, masculinity, machismo and in some way I wanted to be part of the conversation. While I’m probably the opposite of macho or stereotypically masculine I thought I could somehow blend or add another layer to something so blatantly obvious (the films) while the song is about a victim (or former victim) who becomes seen and dreaded by the masses and I wanted to be seen but at a distance, behind glass, but kind at the same time by providing a service and ultimately an artwork because I (The Artist) touches it and signs it. I literally work the surface of the item, not unlike a painter or sculptor talks about working the surface of their canvas or clay or whatever.
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You mentioned something interesting regarding your role as the artist and how Iron Man plays with/within the concept of gender roles. Explain a little bit about your thoughts on this and on the repetitious act of ironing from the perspective of you doing this for hours on end and why. 
In an art historical context, there are lots of references of women ironing and I think, even now, it’s understood to be a woman’s work or work that isn’t even thought of. We drop things off at the dry cleaner or laundry to generally some anonymous face who ultimately becomes another drive-thru service. I want to personalize it (I sign it!) and help to reconsider the roles of the working class in our everyday lives. I grew up very blue collar and I believe the idea of someone doing menial tasks became very important to me as a way to be seen. Or at least that those performing such tasks should be seen or considered and treated with kindness. That the person giving you your burger is as important as the CEO running the company. It becomes socialist in a way. The artist (the other) is as important as the ironer — the plebe, the worker, the forgotten.
Something I haven’t mentioned is the work of mothers. I associate this a lot with mothers, stay-at-home mom’s doing endless amounts of laundry for their filthy children and ironing and ironing and ironing. It’s almost like you are taking it out of it’s natural state. It starts new, wrinkle-free but inevitably through wear, it becomes wrinkled, not unlike our own bodies, we are born perfect and then immediately imperfect but we strive to regain some of that perfection. 

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Give us a little insight on the artist-audience interaction and what the whole idea of ironing and signing their pieces of clothing may represent or provide (instant gratification in a sense, mementos, etc…). 
Again, the work can’t exist without an audience. So there is no show. For me, this is about passive art viewing which is extremely annoying to me. We watch things or see things and it’s just that. There’s no continuation of anything. There’s no ongoing experience. Ticket purchased, show seen, the end. It feels very boring to me. Instant gratification is probably mostly mine with my OCD and making a “perfect” garment through the release of wrinkles. 
And yes a real memento, a hand-made object, an original art work instead of a statue of the Twin Towers or the Liberty Bell or even a t-shirt from the Gap or Forever 21. This is real, it is yours, you helped to create it. I work for you. I am yours. Until I’m not. Until after my four-hour shift I go home and become RJ, no longer Iron Man.

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Interview and words by Zaria Poem 

"Evoked Emotions" - Translating emotions into actions. Photos by Con Artist Collective Member: Anthony Prince  Model: Sherry Lag. Custom Pieces: Dee Serret. Make Up: Lee Will. At: Con Artist Collective

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#UNDR1ROOF @undr1roof ART FOR THE ARTS

"ceci n’est past une cliché” by Josef Pinlac 2014, Con Artist Collective

Under One Roof with 50+ artists renovating a home in the Bronx with Art. By Lady Millard and members of the Con Artist Collective. These pics are from last nights opening party May 17th 2014.

Femme Fatale has just begun, see you all tonight.

@andrewandrew is kicking things off the night, don’t miss them.

Show opening tonight! 7-11pm. #art #lowereastside #conartist #conartistnyc

ISO 216 Works by Chris Mendoza & Lädy Millard

Today marks the closing for our ISO 216 gallery show that we collaborated on with London’s Test Space collective. Members from our own collective, Illustrator Chris Mendoza and Painter Lädy Millard, spoke to us about collaborating with international artists and gave word on some of the latest work they’ve exhibited for this show. Check them out below…

Chris Mendoza

"The two drawings I submitted were specifically created for the ISO 216 show. I don’t mind the difference of the size format between the two countries. For me, it was actually a great way to experiment with different types of measurements and I love drawing on paper. It’s the best.   
 
The works  are study drawings for a new series of paintings I’m working on for the year 2014. They focus on light, energy and architecture. I wanted to share my drawing style for the people of London. Since I’ve only shown once before with Stolenspace Gallery there, this will be my second time [exhibiting work] there.”

"I create  abstract compositions. I love to work on paper, drawing is a daily habit. I like to adapt to paper size ratios— I’ve been experimenting with that for a few years [while visiting] Japan. I think it’s great to think outside the box, working with different measurements in the UK as well. 
My thoughts about this show is that it’s a new way to share styles with artists from both cities and countries. I would like to gain some chances to actually travel to the UK and collaborate with artists there on larger-scaled projects.”

Lädy Millard 

"I created all the work [I’m exhibiting] with the show in mind. My thoughts on artists abroad is that artists paint differently overseas. There is definitely a different hand-style. I like it. Paper is important in my work because I use and like working on large sheets of paper—I wish we had ISO standards for our sheets [in the US].”

"In regards to collaborating with international artists, I would like to say something controversial but can’t. I enjoy art no matter where it is from. I love the idea of culture and cultural balance. I think that art starts the conversation.”

 

Come join us tonight for the closing party of IS0 216. Con Artist Gallery, 119 Ludlow St. NYC | 7-11 p.m. 

Closing party tonight 7-11pm!! Come see ISO216 before it ships out to London. #testspace #conartistnyc

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