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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


ACID COUTURE: Anthony Ferrario Studio Visit

16 Feb

Kitty katz and laser rainbows!?@#! Acid couture by local designer Anthony Ferrario tickles the insides of your eyelids. Anthony hand dyes, constructs and screen prints in his Sunset studio.

So whats your initial draw to clothing design?

I guess when I was 21, I had broken up with a girl that was a fashion designer and she was always making fun of me because I didn’t know how to sew. So back in Seattle, me and my friend Sam would make ties out of military jackets and stuff and stores started pickin it up. I originally wanted to be a visual artist but I figured I’d make more money out of this (he laughs). Food stamps are awesome!

You’re back in SF from a 2 year stint in Boston. Since you’ve been here for the past 3 months, what have you been up to?

For the first month, I was looking for a job. But basically what I’ve been trying to do is start a clothing company with Kevin Scott Hailey (of Coma and Cotton) and find my way into the art community here. And I ride my bike a lot.

We haven’t decided on a name for our business yet. If anybody has any suggestions – we’re open.

Where do you get most of your fabric?

The majority comes from recycled clothing from thrift stores. Also fabric stores, the one by Thrift Town. When I was in Boston, I used to go to New York a lot. Since I’m here, I go to LA. And I go online a lot…The Fabric Fairy.

Tell me about the vintage patterns —

I like to use vintage patterns every once in a while. I will also use patterns I find in interesting vintage clothing I find in thrift stores. I really emphasize quality of construction. Older processes of construction are interesting to me. They were built to last as opposed to the stuff you can easily throw away today.

Ideal sewing machine?

Industrial Interlock MACHINE

Explain the concept behind most of your designs?

Recently I’ve been trying to base my design on sacred geometry elements. I made a hoodie with triangles based on the golden ratio that connect to form a pyramid. I also like to play with unique color combinations. It’s all geometry, shape and color. I make just about anything. Special order dresses. My bread and butter is the hoodies, I also do knit ware, pants, jackets, you name it i made it

Nothing I make is entirely the same. Everything is one of a kind.

Are there any fashion designers that you follow or are inspired by?

RIP Alexander McQueen.

I don’t know, I don’t really draw from anybody. They design themselves. I’m just the vessel.