Studio Visit : MICKE TONG

30 Mar

I stopped by Micke’s place to check out how he’s faring in preparation for Ground Control, his show coming up this Saturday at Public Salon in SF.

How do space and time portals tie into your show?
Places on Earth hold certain powers, anomalies that many are drawn to and are perfectly mysterious, like the Bermuda Triangle for instance or the Dragon’s Triangle located in the Philippine Sea off China’s eastern coast is also known for vanishing ships and seamen.

And what personal experiences do you look to for inspiration?
I’ve always been intrigued with Sociology and how humans relate to one another.  For this show my personal experiences range from my admiration of science fiction particularly Philip K. Dick and Gene Roddenberry, my introduction to God as a “born again Christian” as a youth which has led me to see the social connections to the celestial world.  Also, over the years I’ve been surrounded by brilliant and loving people of Muslim faith as well.  Their unique character and dedication to their religion has caused me to take a look at one of the most powerful and misunderstood places on Earth, Mecca. It’s these things, faith, power and the things unexplainable by natural law that has inspired Ground Control.

Where do you get your colors?!! — what drew me to your micro Habitat show @ Belljar
I get them from R&E paint supply.  Lots of the more colorful paint I use are automotive, inspired by low riders that I used to see growing up in east San Jose.

Are you leaving your digital arts strain as you develop through different series of work or do you see yourself coming back to that?
There is no leaving or coming back.  It’s all a part of my arsenal of mediums.  The more knowledge I obtain with materials and how to apply those materials to my artwork, in my opinion, makes my art more interesting.  Learning new processes makes art enjoyable for me.  I have traditional foundations of drawing and painting that I learned at the Academy of Art SF, but at times I feel the need to express myself beyond the pen and brush.

Can you tell me exactly what your process is with the architectural aspect and how that permeated into your most recent work?
It all seems to be a natural progression.  I’ve always been drawn to architecture and design. Around 2006 I started creating urban landscapes with digital illustration.  Much of the wood sculptures I make today were conceived from those drawings. All the buildings are sourced from imagination since there are no rules to creating art.  As long as the buildings are in fairly similar scale I’m happy. All the buildings are usually created from left over scraps of wood in my studio.  Most are reformed using balsa and others are carved with my rotary tool.

How did you get into the LA art scene and why did you leave? I love the art scene in Los Angeles.  It’s thriving, people buy art and are just genuinely cool.  I was introduced to LA by art enthusiast Michael Siegel a few years ago who saw my “Open Studio” at Arspace and asked me to show.  My hearts still in tinsel town, but it became very difficult to ship and travel back and forth over time.  Plus, I wanted to represent my favorite city, San Francisco.

chicken head

Performance aspect coming soon? I’ve read but have yet to see.
Nothing on the horizon really, but reading about Marina Abramović at the MOMA really inspired me.  Her concepts are above and beyond.

Wall of power reference?  Lightning is just cool? Lightening is always cool.  The “Wall of Power” is more a kin to wealth and people that have it.  It has no real bounds as long an exchange of money exists.  Wall street, corporations, their capability to have a stronghold on our daily lives are a concern that we all have.

Rosco has an affinity for being under my feet


One Response to “Studio Visit : MICKE TONG”


  1. Ground Control pt.2 of a miniSeries « - March 30, 2010

    […] ** Interview with the Sardonian […]

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