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. 

Patrick Grzelewski on Δ
Where did the concept of Δ come from?
The concept for the show came from a general abundance lately of the symbol in various aspects of my life, and a subsequent curiosity about its wealth of historical and cultural significance. I also wanted to challenge myself personally to create work under the constraint of a unifying visual element while still allowing for a diverse overall aesthetic narrative.
 
Have you collaborated in the past? How is this show different from what you worked on before?
Brandon and I worked together on the Master of None show, and was instrumental in helping me refine the concept through the planning stages. We have a pretty natural connection as creative thinkers, which is why I reached out to him for the triangle show.  This experience was in pretty stark contrast to the extensive organization and development of Master of None, which I think was appropriate in this case.  The concept here was intentionally broad, and despite a few initial meetings we left everything fairly independent among the three artists involved.  The idea was to facilitate three unique interpretations of a broad yet unifying concept, uninfluenced by one another yet connected as a symbolic trinity. Having the show in the third month of the year was no accident either. I’d never worked with Jamie before, but Brandon suggested we reach out given the constant theme of the triangle in his work. It was fantastic to have a voice in the show so intimately focused on the symbol itself, as triangles are more of a new exploration in my work.
How did you chose which pieces to include in Δ?
All of my work for this show was created more or less simultaneously once the initial moves on each piece had been made. I think there was a benefit to allowing for very fluid shifts between different pieces during the process, creating a balance of both contrast and unity with a lot of subconscious cross-pollination taking place.
 
What did you think of the other artists’ work in the show? How did they affect your perception of Δ?
I was really pleased with the dynamic of the show. Jamie and I had two heavily represented, intricate, yet starkly differing interpretations of the concept. Brandon’s installation piece had a great simplicity yet commanding presence that I think really connected the three visions, or served as almost a refinement of the other two. True to many common trinities, it was almost a sense that the first two had given birth to the third.
 
Many pieces in Δ use triangles in their composition. How do you feel about triangles as an aesthetic element?
Before understanding much of the background behind this symbol, I was always extremely taken with its aesthetic power.  Triangles have the potential to convey such transcendent balance and serenity, but can also be mysterious, disquieting, imposing, even violent.  No matter the context, it always commands attention.
 
What was the most interesting triangle-related factoid you learned in the making of the show?
Probably the most interesting random fact I came across relates to the pink triangle’s use as a symbol of LGBT empowerment. I had no idea it was originally used by the nazis to signify homosexuals. 

Brandon Wisecarver on Δ

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Where did the concept of Δ come from?

Patrick approached me with the idea for a duo show about triangles. He had recently found an infatuation with the shape and wanted to explore it more. I know Jamie Martinez from my days at Orchard Windows Gallery, knew he was a Con Artist member, and that he is literally obsessed with triangles. I thought it would be ridiculous to have a Con Artist show about triangles without him and by including him we formed a triangle of our own.
 
Have you collaborated in the past? How is this show different from what you worked on before?
I have collaborated with Patrick in the past only by participating in a show he curated entitled “Master of None”. The concept of that show was to branch out and explore a medium we normally do not use. For M.O.N. I decided to try my hand at installation art, creating my “reliquary 2012” iPhone alter.
 
How did you chose which pieces to include in Δ?
I had so much fun doing installation for Master of None that I decided to do it again. I waited until the show was exactly 3 days away and began to transform the Con Artist mobile conference room into a hypnotic triangle meditation chamber.
 
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What did you think of the other artists’ work in the show? How did they affect your perception of Δ?
I’m a collector of Patrick’s work, and a big fan of Jamie’s. We all approached the subject matter very differently, yet the simplicity of the shape brought a very palpable unity to the show. Jamie uses triangles to break down images into what he calls their ‘true forms’ and that affects my perception of the world more than my perceptions of the shape itself. However, Patricks work for the show seems to do the opposite, bringing images into a comprehendible form by building them up from the triangle which makes me contemplate the meaning behind the shape itself. I won’t comment on my own work ;)
 
Many pieces in Δ use triangles in their composition. How do you feel about triangles as an aesthetic element?
If you look closely (some pieces you really have to) you’ll see that every piece in Δ is compositionally built around the triangle. If we’re talking about shapes made from points and lines, the triangle is as basic as it gets. There’s something incredibly powerful about that. Jamie says triangles are like his religion, and it’s interesting how central the shape is to the iconography of many of the world’s religions. 
 
What was the most interesting triangle-related factoid you learned in the making of the show?
That CGI images are based on triangles (polygons), so reality, virtual or not, seems to be all about this shape.

Jamie Martinez on Δ

Where did the concept of Δ come from?
I was invited to participate in the show. I believe Patrick came up with it. I have always worked with triangles, all my paintings and art work are done using and breaking the image with triangles. I like to call it Triangulism. 
 
Have you collaborated in the past?
We have never collaborated in the past. It is a great show and experience. 
 
How did you chose which pieces to include in Δ?
Each artist made that decision themselves. 
 
What did you think of the other artists’ work in the show? How did they affect your perception of Δ?
I loved Brandon and Patrick’s work with triangles and they did totally different things which were well executed. 
 

Many pieces in Δ use triangles in their composition. How do you feel about triangles as an aesthetic element?
I adore triangles and it is almost like a religion to me. Once again I like to call it Triangulism which is when an image is broken into triangulated segments, to show it’s true form and structure (my def of triangulism). 
 
What was the most interesting triangle-related factoid you learned in the making of the show?
That all the artists where in fact a triangle, one member for each side, showing different kinds of art. 

 

Illustrator Weiloong Wong Speaks on His Start in Design, Influences in Art and Shares Photos of Works

This winter, Con Artist had the pleasure of having illustrator-designer Weiloong Wong create in our workspace. We’ve shared moments from our bon voyage gathering here and are now letting you in our chat with Long, whose back home completing studies in Singapore. Continue on to discover more from one of our favorite up-and-comers!

In your own words, what are you a creator of? What medium do you primarily work in or with?

With a focus on iIllustration and graphic design, I’d say I am a creator of visual solutions. I employ and mix a number of traditional and digital methods to execute my work. For illustration, I’d usually complete drawings completely by hand on paper, using graphite and ink, before scanning them for digital coloring on Photoshop. As for design, since my studies have been primarily print-based, a certain proficiency in craftwork is necessary, though the bulk of work is performed on the computer.

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What attracted you to illustration and design? How long have you been doing it?

Growing up, I developed a highly idiosyncratic constellation of interests and the visual arts seemed to fall in the centre of it all. I like to think of illustration and design as the vanguard of my life pursuits, something that presents itself as a convergence of my interests. Like many creative people, I’ve always enjoyed drawing and chose to study graphic design as a “practical” career path. However, being fresh out of high school, I’d say now that I had a grossly vague idea of what graphic design and Illustration were. Luckily for me, as I progressed through school, an appreciation and understanding of the two grew into natural modes of visual problem-solving and expression. I’ve been studying graphic design for about three years now. While I’ve always been drawing, I only understood what illustration really was about two years ago.

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Tell us a little about where you’re from and how it affects and influences the work you create. You’ve incorporated a lot of Asian culture and references in your art. How important are these factors when you’re creating something? Would you say you’ve been influenced by your culture and your use of it in your work is a way of sharing it or preserving it?

I’m from Singapore, a surprisingly multi-cultural city state in Southeast Asia. Having been baptized in an intensely competitive education system, I think I’ve developed a measure of discipline that has informed my work ethic. Apart from that, growing up in a globalized, multi-cultural and relatively young city, it is hard to pinpoint a specific cultural identity. For example, I am Chinese, but English is my first language, and I went to a number of primarily English speaking schools where I studied Mandarin as well. At home, I communicate with my family in dialects—Hakka and Cantonese. In a globalized environment, Singaporeans are also privy to the international landscape, especially American culture. I feel that the question of cultural identity is crucial in achieving a unique voice in the visual arts, and is something I’ve been concerned with for a long time. It made sense to embrace this multi-cultural identity completely, and translate it visually through aesthetic sensibility and working philosophy that are informed by diverse sets of cultural and historical understanding.

There are also mythical and fantastical elements in your work. What
inspires these particular characters or figures when you design?

Narratives often employ metaphors that are synonymous with different aspects of human existence. I feel that this is most apparently in the mythologies of various cultures, a subject that I have incidentally always been interested in. In some my work, I attempted to use mythological metaphors to communicate contemporary concepts, an approach that I am still trying to refine. At the same time, it’s enjoyable combining mythologies and narratives from various cultures to communicate my multi-cultural perspective.

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As a designer, do you have any rules you live by pertaining to how you create your work? Any as an illustrator?

I impose lots of rules upon myself, and I believe that I can be more creative within a set of boundaries. Both design and illustration exist primarily to solve problems, so naturally, that always takes precedence. At the same time, I always feel the need to push conceptual and technical boundaries. I believe that in the pursuit of good work, there must always be a struggle. Te end result is seemingly chaotic, yet governed by an invisible system. In short, there must always be a method to the madness.


Are you influenced by any particular artists or artworks? Tell us about it.

I usually have difficulty identifying any favorites, and my artistic influences are both Western and Eastern, and mostly based upon figurative tradition. However, I can probably list the artists that inform my work the most. Michelangelo and Albrecht Dürer are huge influences in the way I draw figures, while Japanese Ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai and Yoshitoshi inform my colour sense tremendously. Art Nouveau and the Arts & Crafts movement are also tremendous influences. In relation to my work, these influences would be the most visually apparent, but like most creatives, I draw inspiration from everywhere.

What three words would you use to describe your work?

Symbolic, Figurative, Organic

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How would you like others to view your work? What would you like for them to see or gain from it?

I’d be satisfied enough to achieve the communicative objective of design and illustration. Apart from that, it’s always interesting and refreshing to meet people who choose to see beyond the message and medium, that is to say, my sensibilities as a creative person—a “big picture” of what I am trying to achieve in my craft. I always want my work to embody an invisible system and philosophy, and it’s always interesting when someone can pick them out.

Do you see yourself experimenting in any other realms of art? What projects would you like to eventually work on, if any?

For now, I’d just like to work on commercial design and illustration projects. Especially for design, there is huge variation in the type of projects that can be presented. Te world is changing more rapidly than ever, I expect that these will require solutions that will transcend my skill set. Rather than through a desire to experiment, I think that my passions will force me to expand the spectrum of my creative abilities. To me, that truly is an exciting prospect.

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View more of Weiloong’s portfolio work here

Words: Zaria Poem

Jasper Fields on SOUP

Where did the idea for SOUP come from? How did it evolve as you coordinated with the other artists?

I pitched in some ideas during brainstorming but in the end it Shaina or Frog came up with “soup.”

Couldn’t give you the whole play-by-play but soups are good, I think everyone likes soup, especially in the fall and winter, I didn’t have a problem with it. 

How did you decide which pieces to include in the show? 

Shaina invited me to do this and so I just picked some pieces I made in the past few years that I felt would be interesting to show and maybe get some feedback on. This was my first gallery show and it was cool to see people interact with my work. The boxes were personal explorations that grew out of former obsessive-compulsive habits and meditating on dreams. I never made them with the intention of showing them in a gallery one day. 

How does the other work in the show affect your art? Do you see the pieces as individual expressions or parts of a whole idea?

I identify as Unitarian Universalist (though I don’t go to church), so yeah I fundamentally believe that we all affect each other and are parts of a unified whole. Regardless of whether or not we are conscious of it. I like Shaina and Lady and Frog and I like their work, it speaks to me, but I’m not thinking about them all the time, especially not when I’m working on my art. But since they are a part of my life I guess they are a part of my subconscious, so maybe that shows through in my art without my realizing it. Though I did make all these pieces a few years ago, before I knew them very well.

I make my work reflexively, my pieces serve to catch and layer compulsions. Sometimes when I add those mirror pieces in there it adds a level of feedback into it, and all of a sudden the thing is about the viewer, you know… which happens to be Me when I’m looking at it, but it’s YOU when YOU’RE looking at it. 

So yeah i guess my work is about me but it’s also about you and them too.

What’s your favorite soup?

New England clam chowda

A lot of the work in SOUP is interactive. How did viewers react to the pieces that could be played with?

They seemed to like it. 

What’s your favorite piece in the show?

"Open the Doors" by Shaina Yang. I got such a kick watching people try it for the first time. What a great practice, great message. It starts off a such a positive spiral of goodwill and equal rights. They should install this piece at every UN meeting, and make it mandatory for every diplomat to shake hands through that thing. 

Mark Anthony Green Shares Latest Works, Chats About Solo Show

Most days you can find Mark Anthony Green playing with words and sharing commentary as a magazine writer. Tonight, he is in the Con Artist workspace prepping a few embroidered canvases exhibiting March 9 in his solo show “Vibes Are The Only Currency.” The works are the result of a steady three months in the studio where he’s spent many a late night and worked from during the winter holidays.
We recently caught up with MAG and got some insight on the inspiration behind his stitched creations and thoughts on his ever-developing creative process. Read on for more…
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"There are people who find joy and value in creating something. At 25, I feel that I am one of those people. I have found joy and personal value in creating these pieces. There’s ambition behind it," says the Kansas City native.

"My inspiration to create these pieces came from my editor at GQ, Will Welch. He was getting married and I couldn’t think of a thing to get him. I remember him having the ‘Luminous Beings’ quote from Star Wars on his desk and I thought it would be cool to put it on canvas. I had a friend do it at first but the turnout wasn’t what I wanted. I then decided to do it. I did a few different versions at first and then kept making them after that first go round.”
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"This white canvas has ‘GRITS’ on it: Girls Raised In The South. The gold one is stitched with letters that say ‘silver’ and there’s another one that says ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Pair of Dice, Loss’ when it’s flipped. It was inspired by my favorite John Milton poem," says Green. 

"Some of the quotes I use are random and funny and some have a more serious tone like the ‘Skittles and Arizona’ one for Trayvon Martin. That [case] was one of the craziest things I’ve seen in my generation. I don’t want it to be forgotten. Artists are the best keepers of record and people are going to forget what they’re going to forget. It’s up to artists to be conscious and every now and then remind them." 

In regards to MAG’s creative process, he always starts with a room. Following location, he chooses the quote, the typography and then the color of the piece lastly. “I totally see this orange ‘Loose Religion, Lose Religion’ piece in Pharrell’s kitchen. He’s got this crazy scenic place in Miami that’s perfect for it.” 

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"It may be cliché but women are definitely my muse for my paintings. It may be the reason why I use so many pastels. Honestly, I’m just a hopeless romantic— a Doug Funnie in this world just trying to find his Patty Mayonnaise. I have certain women and places in mind when I’m painting. ‘Vibrate Without Caveats,’ I can see that going in the kitchen of some girl named Alicia who’s not afraid of a burger. You know what I mean by that? Like, she’s a cool girl who will have a burger." 

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"As an artist, it’s important that you’re making something and are the editor and creative director of it. As a writer, these canvas pieces are the only things no one touches. No one looks at them, no one makes them better or makes them worse. They are not touched or tampered with. My only hope is that viewers will receive them and find something in them. Do I think everything I make will change the world? Definitely not. I’d just like the opportunity to keep creating and hope that my work will become profoundly revered." 

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"Vibes Are The Only Currency" opens March 9 at Poppington Art Gallery. Check out MarkAnthonyGreen.com for more info. 


Words and Photos: Zaria Poem