"Conicon 2.0": A Talk with Curator Josef Pinlac
Tell us a little about your inspiration to do Conicon 2.0, along with what your experience during the first go-round was like. Was 2.0 always a plan or on your ‘to do’ list?
Josef Pinlac: The first Conicon was my first curated show and I did some things really well and got some outstanding contributions from the Con Artist Collective. I don’t like to repeat myself, so Conicon 2.0 was not originally on my to do list, but it was so much fun the first time around and there seemed to be some improvements I could make to make it more successful.
The best part of doing it the first time is that months later and hopefully years later, people will still come up to me and say that they had so much fun at the show and it was what made them decide to become part of the collective or become fans of the collective.
Why 2.0 and is there a goal in mind, pertaining to what you want viewers to learn or think about?
JP: 2.0 was just one of the names suggested around. I think Brian (CA founder) said it first and it just made sense as a fun title. There was no real push to do art for the viewers specifically but I wanted the artists to consider other aspects of the culture of comics and Comic Con and not just be stuck on the ideas of superheroes, although superheroes is still a popular theme, even for me, but I am always curious to see how other artists may elevate the genre.
As always, my goal is to elevate the idea of comics as high art. In reality, it is probably already there, but in the past, educational and organized institutions have always just not really taken it seriously.
You are very hands on with the costume theme, even if it’s not intentional. Superman..The Surrealiste…Flash. Has implementing these characters changed or challenged your work in any way? Does an element of disguise present itself while you perform in these costumes? What’s next (costume and art wise)?
JP: I am not sure I mentioned it before but after a performance of Superhero Cut Piece and an unrelated Figment NYC project, someone remarked that I was a costume artist. I never considered myself as such but I guess artists become tagged as their last most memorable project. Wearing a costume hasn’t really changed me much. In my head I am still me and I don’t take advantage of the anonymity that a mask allows. I think I have gotten better into hiding into the character but mostly I like to think it enhances qualities I already have. I just want to say there are no new costumes in the works. I don’t want it to get to the point where everyone says, “Oh, it’s just Joe and his costumes. AGAIN.”
I am currently still working on my Artist Emergency Kits and feel really challenged by them. Any future works are always inspired by other artists who introduce ideas to me through their own works. I recently discovered the dreamy art of Ann Hamilton and the cleverness of John Baldessari. More recently, Brooklyn conceptual artist Risa Puno has again gotten the imagination in my head inspired to think in fun and amazing ways you can entertain and change the world through art.
Give us three words or responses to this: Through comics, I’ve discovered… ________.