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Preview/Interview: Ego – “Light In The Darkness” @ Flatcolor Gallery

Opening this Thursday, October 1st at the Flatcolor Gallery in Seattle is “Light in the Darkness”; a solo exhibition of new works from the multi-talented artist known as EGO. For the past few months EGO has been creating work for a variety of shows and events, such as “LET THERE BE ART!” .. a project to give a collective voice to the Seattle artists whose talent is all too often unseen and unheard.” presented by City Hostel Seattle. I am very excited to see the new works he has created for this show, but in the meantime I was able to send over a handful of interview questions and even some teaser images.

See the full show here: Flatcolor Gallery

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CM: I’ve been a fan of your work for a while now, but know nothing about what got you into art in the first place. Can you tell us a bit about how you got started, what influenced you and how your art has changed?

EGO: Thanks. I wish I could tell you some fantastic story about my early inspiration to become an artist, but the reality, I think, is not so fantastic. As far as I can tell, it’s just some sort of birth defect. I’ve been creating art (in one form, or another) for longer than I can remember (since I was a baby).The only thing I’ve wanted to do for a living, is be an artist…from way back. When the other kids were talking about being cops, firefighters, and astronauts, I was saying that I wanted to be an artist. The earliest influences I can remember are the movie STAR WARS, and comic books. I suppose the biggest influences in the beginning of my teen years were Skateboarding, punk rock, comic books and the art that went along with those things. Jim Phillips, and Pushead were definitely responsible for fueling my fire in the 80’s, along with Todd McFarlane, and Simon Bisley just on the horizon in the 90’s. If I were to try to list all my current influences…the list, of artists alone, would end up being the size of a small town phone book. I guess, looking back, the one constant has always been comic books. To that end, I suppose my art has changed from trying to emulate more graphic, bold, line-heavy artwork, to focusing more on softer painting technique over the last few years. It’s hard to break that graphic-style hold though (especially being a tattooer). Still, I have to say, I think I will always enjoy doing some design/illustration work where I get to just try to be the most meticulous about line quality. I think it’s some kind of personality disorder… Oh, and I didn’t mention art school, because I didn’t go to one.

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CM: You’ve done quite a few collaborative works with artists such as Parskid and NKO, are there any other artists that you would love to do a collaborative painting with?

EGO: Aw jeez… I don’t know, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with a bunch of really talented artists already (begin name dropping portion of interview…now). In December, 2008 I organized a group show called “THE WAY WE THINK”, which was, basically just an excuse to collaborate with a bunch of artists/friends, including: 179, Amanda Moon and Tom Chapel, Darvin Vida, Jeff Taylor, Krystal Kreitzman, Lilly Sternmann, Pgee, Solace, Ten Hundred, Weirdo, and, as you mentioned…Parskid and NKO. I’m definitely planning to do something like that again in the near-future…so, I guess I’ll get a chance to invite other artists/friends who I’d like to work with, to be a part of the next team. It’s always fun and interesting to see the results of different creative minds coming together.

CM: One of the things that I have always liked about your work is the variety of mediums used, spray paint, pencils, watercolors, acrylics and you even tattoo. Is there a specific medium that you enjoy working with the most?

EGO: Well…I guess there’s always a right tool for the job (sometimes more than one…), but as of late, I’m really enjoying testing my limits with acrylic paint. I often find myself trying to mimic an oil painted look, using acrylic…so, I think 2010 may see me working with actual oil paint, we’ll see (I’ve been talking about it for a while now). I suppose there are those who would look down on someone who doesn’t work in traditionally accepted media, but I don’t care enough about that to stifle myself into a box…so I’m sure I’ll just continue to use whatever medium I feel will get the job done to my liking.

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CM: Looking at your art there seem to be a few consistent elements, crowns, birds, flies and most notably skulls. Can you tell us about how these elements made it into your work, and what the significance if any each one has?

EGO: Get out of my head! Haha… wow, ummm… I don’t know that there is any specific inter-connected significance within the images I choose. I hate to admit it, but I don’t really have any kind of crucial agenda in creating art. It’s really just a selfish exercise, in so much as I just make things that I think look cool! While there may be some deeper, hidden, subconscious meaning to the recurring elements in my work, I’d prefer to leave that to the viewer to try to discern. I just create stuff that is fun for me to look at (mostly stuff that doesn’t exactly exist in our world. Not that there aren’t plenty of interesting things in our world, but, after all… I can see things that exist here any time… I can’t really go out on my street and see a chubby skeleton with a floating head, and a pink eyeball in his belly ).

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CM: The preview images of what I have seen so far for this new show at Flatcolor look a little different than your previous work. Can you tell us a bit about any inspiration or techniques that are different from previous art you have shown?

EGO: Frankly, the images for this show are born of my creative exhaustion. I feel really tapped right now. This show comes at the end of a long string of back to back shows. It’s sort of my Frankenstein’s monster… all the odds and ends of ideas, not fully realized in other works, sewn together to form “Light in the Darkness”. It’s like all the creative resin that could be scraped from the dried up corners of my imagination, collected into one last little pile, until the new batch of ideas arrive. To give it some kind of commonality, and to separate it from previous shows, I chose to use a lighter color palette for everything (while trying to preserve the darker, creepiness that has become a bit of a trademark of my stuff). I hope I pulled it off.

Thanks to EGO for taking the time to answer these questions. Make sure you keep on eye on the gallery website for the full show, and if your close enough to the gallery stop by and see the show in person.

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