Entries in art (3)

Monday
Apr202015

54 Michelle Tanguay

Michelle Tanguay is a prolific and exceptionally talented visual artist from Detroit.  We came across her work last year and have been trying to wrap our heads around it since.  Recently, we had a chance to chat with Michelle, and we were fascinated by what she had to say.  Make sure you check out her work here and support this woman!


First of all thanks so much for chatting with us, we are huge fans of your work.  Can you fill us in on what's been keeping you busy lately?

Im really excited about a new series of paintings i started about a month ago, i'm still trying to figure out what direction they are going but its fun and its keeping me busy. 

What's a typical day in the studio like for you?

Typical day in the studio starts with getting lunch with my Camilo (My mentor/best friend) across the street at Detroit One Coney Island. We discus what we have planned for the day, i get his opinion on some ideas and then i get to work. I usually have around 5 different paintings going at once, while i'm waiting for one painting to dry i move to the next one. Theres a model who i'm using in a few of my current paintings, she's absolutely beautiful, she stops by periodically simply so i can see her face. If i'm having trouble with a painting i might go to the library and take out some books, jump on the computer and look at some art blogs. I'm a bit of a recluse so I try not to leave my studio to much, i usually work throughout the day and into the evening. I might have a visitor here or there but most of my work is done between midnight and 8 am when there is minimal distraction. 


What are your first memories of being interested in art?  When do you figure this was a path you were going to pursue as your career?

There was never any other option. It's the only think i ever knew i wanted to do. As a kid whenever anyone would ask "What do you want to be when you grow up?" my immediate response was always just "an artist." and then the adult would pat me on the head and say "You poor thing." haha kidding. 

What do you love about living and working in Detroit?  How does the city influence and inspire you?

I moved to Detroit from New York when I was 18 years old, I was this troubled teen who dropped out of highschool and was just lost. Sure i wanted to be an artist but there was no fight in me, Detroit changed all of that. Detroit saved me. The people here saved me. This city lit a fire inside of me, everywhere i turned there was an opportunity to be had. The people here motivated me to work harder. Detroit is home to me, its this comfortable, glorious, chaotic, mess, it's the first place i ever felt like i belonged. 

  
Where else do your inspiration come from?  How do you develop your ideas?

I never know when inspiration will come. The most torturous time for me is after a big show ends and i try and search for the inspiration for my next body of work. It's something i can never force, it always happens when i least expect it. I have learned to listen to everything and everyone around me. I was having trouble with this new series of paintings and i went across the street to the coney island really late at night to get a snack and one of the cooks there walks over to me and goes "so your an artist? I LOVE art, I really love Patrick Nagel, he's one of my favorites." Although i was familiar with Nagels work i never really gave it much thought, but after hearing what this cook said I walked home and gave Nagel another chance. Fortunately for me, the cook has good taste in art and I can now say that Nagel is large inspiration for this latest body of work.  The second I start thinking that i have it all figured out and stop listening is when i start messing up. Unfortunately words have never been by strong point, thats probably why i am an artist. So when it comes to developing my ideas its a journey that occurs on the canvas and usually doesn't happen with words. 

At what point did you discover your love for working on such a large scale? 

When I was studying at the College For Creative Studies I had this professor Nancy Mitter who was always telling me to paint larger saying "If you want to learn how to paint you need to paint on a large scale."  I hated painting anything larger then 2ftx2ft but she pulled me aside and told me that the next assignment we had I needed to paint large. So i went home cried my way threw stretching this large canvas that was 5ftx6ft and then started painting. And she was right, i learned how to paint throughout that painting. That painting did end up flying off the back of a pickup truck and into a snowbank on my way to class the next week, but it was totally worth it. I never looked back and started paintings on  larger scale after that. 

What music do you get into while you get in to the zone working?

I listen to a wide variety of different music, a lot of my friends are musicians and Im constantly listening to the music they give me. Loco Dice, John Ryan AKA Dr. Disko Dust, Chuck Flask and Keith Kemp, My friend Kevin Callaway is an amazing drummer and he plays on tons of records, hes always sending me new stuff to listen to while I am painting. I like to listen to Motown, its what my dad played in the house when i was growing up. Whenever anyone is over i encourage them to plug in their phone and play something while i work. 

Is there anything coming up you'd like us to know about?  Anything you love that you'd like people to be aware of?

The redbull house of art is having an alumni show, im really excited to be apart of that. Thinkspace is having a show at Inner State gallery, i'm currently working on a piece for that show. And i'm excited for a few collaborations in the works. Im excited to be working with Matthew Franklin Jenkins on some experimental pieces combining his breathtaking photography and my paintings. Summer in Detroit always brings a slew of new projects, i'm looking forward to it. 

 
Thanks so much to Michelle Tanguay for chatting with us, check out more of her work here.
Thursday
Feb262015

49 Sonnymoon


The Brooklyn based duo known as Sonnymoon is one creatively adventurous group.  They've embraced the uncharted territory of the modern music business with the same innovation they bring to their music.  There's a sense of unpredictability in their music that makes them extremely exciting artists to watch and listen to.  We caught up with Anna Wise and Dane Orr as they prepare to release their new album "Courage of the Present"...


-First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.  Your new album The Courage of The Present is out in March.  Could you tell us a bit about it?  How is it different from some of your other music?


Hey Fingers on Blast! The Courage of Present Times represents the progression of our sound over the past two years. We have grown as people and as creators. Considering the current landscape is music, it takes a lot of courage to really step out and do anything different. 

On a more personal level, we think its crazy to be alive right now and it takes a lot of self-discipline to stay sane. We are all bombarded by information, misinformation, and opinions disguised as facts. We've witnessed a lot of our friends go down unfortunate psychological paths because of this. Maybe every generation has felt this way, but we think we live in an extra novel time, and everything is going so fast. It takes courage to keep on going right now.


-Do you remember what music it was growing up that made you want to become a musician?


(Anna) 

There was no music in particular. I sang throughout my childhood and have always known music was my path.

(Dane)

It was more that there's such a vast history of things to dig through. My listening habits were (and still are) all over the place. The fact that I would be exposed to Leonard Bernstein one hour and then listening to Metallica or Bob Marley the next was mind-blowing for me. Also, music is the purest form of art, at the base level you don't need anything but your body to create music, its not that way with any other (you could argue that it is with theatre/acting…but it requires a bit more planning to break into a spontaneous 'acting jam'). The line between the way we communicate on a daily basis and express ourselves via music is a very thin one, and its the most consistent art form to give me goosebumps.

 

-Can you tell us what prompted the move from Boston to New York? Do you think you could do this in any city or is NYC part of what makes Sonnymoon great? 

 

(Anna)

It wasn't an immediate move, there were four years of other stuff in between Boston and Brooklyn. Here's the condensed version: Four years ago I dropped out of Berklee and we left on a road trip to California. Two days into the trip I received a text from Kendrick Lamar asking to record with him in LA, so we set sail for Compton, CA. We worked together for five months, then Sonnymoon left on tour with Teebs (and others.) Two years later, we finished touring and all our Boston friends had moved to Brooklyn. We visited and fell in love. There are so many passionate artists and artisans of all trades here. Its important to be surrounded by creative people. We also keep weird schedules and no city is better for that than NYC. I don't know if we could do what we're doing anywhere else, but we want to find out. A lot of our friends are moving to New Orleans. We shall see.

 

-You seem to be great collaborators, with each other of course, but also with a fascinating variety of other artists.  How do you manage to make consistently great music with so many different people, and also, is there anyone you haven't worked with that you might like to?

 

(Anna)

We are unique and prolific and people want us around. Whether we are writing or singing or playing little hand drums or just vibing, being present while others are creating. They want what we bring. Our albums might not be everyones cup of tea, but its becoming more and more apparent to me that a lot of artists know who we are and want a little of us on their record. Not too much, because what we do together is very intense and new and can be a turn off to many listeners. But, a little Sonnymoon sprinkle on top of another artists sunday seems to do very well. 

I'd like to work with Lana Del Rey, Grimes, Fatima, David Gahan, Niki Randa, Bjork, Jocelyn Pook, Amber Coffman, Jill Scott, The Roches, Jean Grae, Suzi Analogue, Angel Deradoorian, and Gwen Bunn.

(Dane) would like to work with David Byrne, Brian Eno, James Murphy, Bjork, Kanye West, Kate Bush, Pat Metheny, Steve Reich, and Herbie Hancock.

 

-What's a typical day (if there were such a thing) in the life of Sonnymoon?

 

We wake up on the spaceship in our sleep pods and get our mind link functions for the day. We dress in hemp fiber clothing made by the 3-D printer in our closet. Then we teleport down to the farm and pick our food for the day from the garden. 

Then it's back up to the spaceship to enter our creativity realm. It's like the holodeck, only way fucking better. We sing glowing faberge eggs made of living language into the holographic sound matrix.

After that, we visit the Hall of Crones and commune with the spirits of our elders. There we breathe-drink the mist of ages and fill our souls with neon shards of healing light. Then we go to sleep and the real work begins.

It's a long day. 

 

-Where does your creative inspiration come from?

 

Our inspiration comes from all areas of life. Everything we do is to enable musical creation. We dream in songs. It's spontaneous and wonderful and we are so grateful to be tapped into the wellspring. 

 

-If you were DJing, what one record would you take with you every night?

 

(Anna)

Jean Grae - That's Not How You Do That: An Instructional Manual for Adults

(Dane)

Fela Kuti - Zombie

 

-Thank you so much for chatting with us, and thank you for making some of our absolute favourite music.  Is there anything else we should know about?

 

You should definitely know about Terence McKenna, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Bronner's Soap, your local farmer's market, reusable water bottles, what food tastes like when it hasn't been wrapped in plastic. Finally, please be prepared to have your molecules rearranged when you come see us on tour. Peace!

 

 

BUY SONNYMOON ON ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/son...
http://sonnymoonmusic.com

Tuesday
Apr092013

024 WeKillYou

 

WeKillYou is a company, and an artist, with a mandate to make you laugh.  We were fortunate enough to have a chance to talk about how the art began under a bridge, how it spread around the world, and why everyone should try living in a new place just once in their lives.  

-What inspired your early artistic creations?  

Skateboarding and Punk music. With out those two things I would defiantly not be doing this. Those worlds gave me a do it your self mentality and that attitude of if you want to do it you can. They were not about being perfect. The art on the skateboards and the album covers and t-shirts are what really planted seeds in my brain at a young age

-When did that art start to look like the WeKillYou work?

Sometime about 10 years ago, I started to glue really rough versions of the black and white monsters under a bridge by my house. At this time I had no idea what wheat pasting meant and that people around the world were doing it. I just used a recipe for paper mache from grade school. Slowly over time I started to add color and shapes to the backgrounds

-What do you have on as background noise while you work?  Alex Pardee watches a ton of movies while he paints, we like a bunch of different podcasts, and of course all kinds of music, what do you get into?

I usually have music on, full albums, rarely on shuffle. I like to pick a band and listen to everything they have made from the start to the most current. If I'm working in my house I listen to my records. I never really got into podcasts and have never had a TV where I work. There was once summer when I watched every season of Corner Gas back to back!



-One thing is apparent with WeKillYou, the characters.  When did you first create The Ajna Rebels and the Monstros?  

There are 3 types of monsters: 
The Ajna Rebels who are pretty much the bad guys with plots to take over the world. They are all linked by their third eye. They first started in 2009 with Grobold.
The Monstros who are the protectors of the city, forest, sea, and underworld. All these creatures feature the WKY logo as their face and are there to do week by people, animals and mother earth. They first started in 2008 with Monstre De Marais
Lastly are the monster that I use for paste ups and what not, lets call them Ghosts. They are like an organic matter that just fills in spaces or covers areas. They are in everything, they are on everything, they comprise of everything

-What came first, their stories or the figures?

This is hard to say. Most of the Monstros stories came about as a way to have a creature of mine fix a different thing that mindless lazy humans are destroying on our beautiful planet. Gonakadet and Architeuthis battle the polluters of the oceans and seas. Hickory Bitternut protects the animals and the forest. Ghostboy and William Palerne help bullied kids and mistreated creatures in the city. In 2009 I decided that if there was good there would also be bad and needed some creatures to to be the bad guys to the Monstros. These were the Ajna Rebels.

-You recently celebrated the 5 year anniversary of the first WeKillYou figures with Valentine's day exclusives, how does it feel to receive photos of collections from across the globe?

Im not quite sure how to describe it other than amazed. 5 years is a short time to be doing something and to see it spread to around the world to places I have trouble spelling or saying and did not even know existed, its kinda hard to grasp at times. There is some dude in Taiwan that has more of my toys than I do and has spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on my stuff. The same for parts of the USA, England, Canada, Australia, Netherlands… the list goes on and most of the time I'm not even sure how to wrap my head around it!


-As a creator of art in all sorts of forms, including some collectible, have you ever spotted someone wearing one of your shirts in public?  How do you react to that?

I think maybe once or twice. I don't recall approaching them though. Sometimes if I see people looking at my work out on the street or taking pictures I like to just watch and see how they act. Usually they are happy and thats all I need

-You've done some incredible freelance work including album covers, something that we have always found fascinating.  What's your process for working on the visual representation of new music?

Outside of people in my life and my art, I have 2 loves; birds and music. Most of my inspiration comes from music rather than visual art. If I could strictly work with bands making visuals for their music, I would stop everything else. I collect records so holding a 12 x 12 piece of art in my hands and getting to hear its sound is …… the best! I think that an album cover and the art associated with the band can be just as important as the music at times and I'm so happy to be a part of that at times. Usually when I'm asked to do art for a band, I will listen to all their music and see what kind of vibe and imagery and fonts pop into my head when I hear it and then go from there. I tend to judge a book by its cover, and there is nothing worse than a great album with a shit cover or vice versa.

-Are you choosy with the music you will let your art represent?

Yes and no. I have done work for something I have never listened to when the project is done, but for the most part its very hard for me to crate a visual for something that I don't enjoy listening to

-Do you prefer to work on your own or are there any artists you'd like to collaborate with?

For 10 years I have pretty much worked alone, but not because i don't want to work on projects with others. Im not a big social butterfly so I don't meet that many people. There are artists I love and I would love to do a project with like Uglydolls, Gary Taxali or Space Invader, but I have not thought of the perfect thing to approach them with yet.

-Can you describe a day in the life of WeKillYou?

Wake up. Check emails and social media. Take a shower. Put on a record. Water my garden. Make breakfast. Deal with some computer stuff. Pack a lunch. Skateboard and bus to the studio. Figure out what has to be done. Spend the day doing that and being distracted and listening to music. Go to the post office to mail things. Go home. Put on a record. Relax a bit and read about birds. Make dinner or eat dinner that is made for me. Watch a TV show if there is a new episode online. Clean up. Go to sleep.

-WeKillYou is based on killing with laughter, and making the best of everything.  Was that always the intention when you started out putting those little monsters out in the streets?

Yes, since day one. The first paste up i did covered up the tags that the neighborhood kids did under the bridge. I thought it was ugly and the goofy monsters would make people maybe smile. I didn't know at this time that tagging was a "mark your territory" sort of thing, I thought it was just idiot teenagers causing trouble…. then I became one

-What inspired the move from Toronto to Los Angeles?  What do you find are the major differences?

A few years ago I noticed that about 70% of my sales were ending up out here so I thought I should give it a chance. I have always believed that every person should live some where different at least once in their live. When you go on a vacation somewhere you usually don't learn about a new culture or place, but moving there, even if it turns out to be the worst, I think its essential for people. How can you know you love where you were born and grew up if you have no where else to base it on? Oh and the weather!

There are a lot of differences that ! have been getting used to. Cars are a big one. I never owned a car and grew up taking public transit. In Toronto we have a downtown… in LA they don't really. Its such a strange city. But after spending about 2.5 years here I have found the area I love and that is NOTHING like what the media and movies portray this city like. I live near a ton of beautiful parks, lots of birds and record shops and all sorts of great stuff. I do wish there was a better garbage system here that included composting and that people cared more about recycling though!

-Is there anything you have on the way you'd like people to know about?

The one thing that I can tell you is that WKY New Era snap backs will be in the shop soon! There are also a lot more products geared for kids in the near future!

-Anyone you'd like to shout out or anything like that?


Anyone reading this, thank you!