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Words from Alex Chiu
Posted 24 May 2010
Tell us a little about yourself. Where you’re from and how you got into the creating game?
My name is Alex Chiu. I grew up in Irvine, CA and I’m currently living in Culver City, CA. Art has always been a part of my life. I would consider myself an obsessive type of creator. The earliest thing I learned to draw were fish; the type that looked like goldfish crackers. I used the carry a plastic briefcase stuffed with loose white computer paper. Each page was covered in hundreds of these fish doodles. I did this to kill time while imprisoned in my parents’ office; they worked, I drew. I was probably five at the time. When my cousin showed me how to fold paper boats, I’d spend the whole day folding boats. By the end of the day, there would be way too many boats. It was definitely a waste of paper.
Who is your favorite cartoon character and/or comic book hero of all time?
Growing up, I had an obsession with Garfield the cat. I used to clip the Garfield comic every single day. I also kept those in that plastic briefcase that I mentioned earlier. I loved Garfield for some reason; I think I liked the roundness of all the characters. There was something comforting about the repetitive nature of the comic as well. Garfield never changed much. He’d do something for a whole week; it would be something boring like kick Odie off a table everyday for a week. A week later he’d do something else. I liked that idea for some reason.
What went down in the last nightmare or dream that you remember?
I think I was having a doughnut party at a picnic table with a bunch of cops.
Where do you find inspiration for new pieces?
Lately I’ve been heavily influenced by retro digital culture; stuff like Nintendo, VHS, graphing calculators, games that come with Windows, MS Paint, etc. My friend bought be a book on Cory Archangel for Christmas. That sort of changed my life a little bit. I’ve also starting getting into circuit bending, digital degradation, glitch manipulation, pixel moshing, gif animations, and other low-fi teckie stuff. All this stuff led me to start a digital art experiment called LINE AND PIXEL. Check out some of these experiments at http://lineandpixel.blogspot.com
Does religion or philosophy play a role in your creative process?
Drawing is a religious act for me in itself in that I do it religiously; it’s a time i set aside for myself to zone out and do something repetitive. The process taps into my subconscious; it allows be to understand myself; it also allows me to meditate and detach myself from the world around me. I don’t think that I consciously incorporate ideas of religion or philosophy into my artwork; however, I’d love to think that my work can be meditated on in a spiritual and/or philosophical kind of way.
I see you have designed some tees for Hurley. Are you currently working on any other corporate design work?
Not at the moment. I’m always open to spread the love on a larger scale if the opportunity comes my way. Hurley’s definitely been a huge supporter of my artwork. They’ve printed five of my designs. I’ve also worked with Volcom Stone in the past. They’ve printed one of my designs as well. For the most part, I’ve been working with several small businesses and artists. I recently designed a wine label for a bottling company named Cuatro Dias. I’m also working on a t-shirt design for a local coffee shop, Neighborhood Grinds in Redondo Beach. I’ve also designed CD and Cassette artwork for artists Denizen Kane, Likewize, the Drone Tones, and Telepathik Friend. I also work closely with a local band named WELLS and a local publishing company called Eyeball Burp.
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
My favorite movie at the moment would have to be Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. The beauty of this film blew me away. Each frame of this movie would make for a beautiful/horrifying painting. It is also one of the most bizarre yet cohesive and profound films I’ve seen to date. Jodorowsky is most definitely one of my all time creative heroes. Please check out his films and comics if you have not already.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you’d like to tell us about?
I do! I have several upcoming shows and projects I would like to tell you about. On May 29th, my band, WELLS, and artist collective, Eyeball Burp will be throwing our first self-produced event called “FLASH” at the Gardena Dance Hall. This will be a flash two hour event from 9-11PM, thus the name “FLASH.” On June 12, I will be having the opening reception for my latest solo show entitled “PIXEL POWER.” It will be happening at the Glasshouse Record Store in Pomona, 7PM-10PM. On June 27th, I will be a guest artist at this years Indy Euphoria Convention. Indy Euphoria is Sacramento indie art, underground comics, and DIY crafts show. In July, I will be participating in a large group show at the Rothick Art Haus in Anaheim. This show will celebrate the newest issue of GOB magazine, the studio issue, which I will be featured in. My wedding to Ann Matsushima will be in October. I’ve been really really busy lately.
Tell us about you’re fascination with robots?
Robots are fun to draw. If you draw a cluster of straight lines and geometric shapes, give it arms and legs; it will end up being a robot. try it. Drawing robots for me now is like drawing fish when I was five; I draw hundreds of them. The robots fit in well with my new interest in digital aesthetic.
Burrito or sandwich?
Burrito. There is a burger shop in Hawthorne called Jim’s Burger. They serve a pastrami burrito. In my opinion, the pastrami burrito is way better than the sandwich.
interview by Mario of Koerce Media