"Conicon 2.0": A Talk with Curator Josef Pinlac

Con Artist loves a good comic so it’s only fitting we’d kick off Comic Con celebrations with year two of our very own themed show, Conicon 2.0.
Curated by member Josef Pinlac, artists were invited to submit works that celebrate all things comics. This resulted in a well-balanced collection that is part nostalgic, part new and all parts attention-grabbing and fun. In our chat with Pinlac, he lets us in on his decision to bring Conicon back for Round 2, the role comics have played in his artistry and what he hopes viewers will get from the exhibition. 
Check out our Q&A below and be sure to stop by the closing party on Wednesday, October 8. Wear a costume and you just may leave with a 3-day pass to Comic Con! Con Artist Collective | 7-11 p.m. | 119 Ludlow St. NYC
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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. 

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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.


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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.

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Give us three words or responses to this: Through comics, I’ve discovered… ________.

-They make me emotional.
-They make me excited.
-I am interested in seeing what the future holds for them and however they may evolve. 
Words: Zaria Poem
Photos: Glenn De La Cruz 

"chris X cross" @ Con Artist Gallery

chris X crossour latest collaboration show between Chris Mendoza and Chris Worfold will be going out with at bang at tomorrow’s closing party, starting at 7 p.m.

Last week, we tagged along and chatted with the two artists as they installed the large, paper works and outfitted the gallery walls with an array of markers and spray paints, starting what would become an ever-evolving display of both of their talents.

Check out the photos and words of Chris #1 and Chris #2 [FYI: We have no idea which one is 1 nor 2. ;-) ] and come join us tomorrow to help us close out a week well spent! Con Artist Collective | 7-11 p.m. | 119 Ludlow St. NYC

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Chris Mendoza on chris X cross:

The last time Chris was here, he was like ‘I don’t know when I’m gonna be back in New York but next time I’m here, we should do something together. When he was here the time before, he put on a really great show when we were still operating just downstairs. I really enjoyed what he did and seeing his work he shared we me, I really kept in mind ‘Wow, man. I want to collaborate with him.’ 

This was four years ago when he did his show here. We kept in contact and when I found out he was coming, I was like ‘Yeah, I’m down.’ I’m super excited that the time has come and that we’re finally doing this together. 

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Chris Worfold on chris X cross

Chris Mendoza and I met in 2010 when I first found out about this place. I come from Brisbane, Australia to New York every other year to do residencies. My first residency here was out in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg. The first time I came to Con Artist, it was by accident. I was with some Australians and there was guy and a girl who were dating and the guy was like ‘I have a show right around the corner. We should all go down.’ Mind you, it was like two in the morning but I was down to check it out [laughs]. I came in and sat down and Brian came and sat down next to me and offered me a beer. We started talking and I was like ‘Hey, I’m in town for three months. I’d love to show you some work. Maybe you’ll like it.’ I showed him some stuff and he did end up liking it. 

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The work at the previous show was a little more figurative. The colors were a lot more muted. The work now is more collaged-based and the tones are little more varied. It’s more layered. I’m excited for Chris Mendoza to add his touch to it because it will be transformed even more. I think chris X cross will be a cross between its own show and the first one. I worked on all of these pieces back home and think it’s cool that I was able to bring them here to have Chris actually collaborate with me on them. This time around, everything is more based on being transformative — exciting for sure. 

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VOTE with your mind #conartistcollective for Borough Art Collective

Lady Millard’s gorgeous bag gets a happy home. A few bags left… Contact us for the details #girls #awesome #ConArtistxSprayground #conartistcollective sprayground

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.

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy