Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Artist Interview with Rosena Fung

Rosena Fung
Rosena Fung is an illustrator and comic artist hailing out of Toronto. She began her path to visual narrative a little differently–she attended the University of Toronto and received her Masters in Anthropology, intending on becoming a research professor. She spent so much time drawing while attending UToronto that after finishing school there, she went to OCAD University to study Illustration. She finds it is one of the best things she has ever done.
RFung wip
Could you tell us about your current studio practice? (Your physical space, the kinds of projects that you make and subjects?)

My current studio space is fairly limited: a desk, with a drawer of supplies in my room, and I am learning to adapt to a downsized space as I prepare to move. I have discovered that I'm a social artist, and work best in the company of other artists, so hopefully at some point I can work in a shared studio space.
My main projects are illustrations (from concept-driven to dense and detailed worlds) and comics (both shorts and longer narratives). I learned how to screenprint recently and have been making prints and book arts ever since. I also really love hand-drawn typography.
RFung Catch
Catch of the Day

What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration? (travel, subjects, materials, etc. )

I love eating, so food and the experience of eating (dining out, as a social activity, as a metaphor, etc.) is one of the mainstays of inspiration and subject matter. Besides that, other sources of inspiration include daily life, especially the really mundane stuff, and conversations, comics, fiction and non-fiction books, and drawing really late into the night—that's when the world seems to open up.

RFung Makeup
You do many different kinds of projects, including comics, illustrations, drawings, personal and client based works. What are some of the biggest differences between your process while making completing these projects?

The differences in the process depends on the nature of the project, and who it's for. For most illustrations I approach in a very controlled sort of way. It's actually a lot of writing down ideas, symbols, associations, etc., that happens before I begin drawing, or even thumbnailing. There's definitely a very structured approach that follows a specific sequential process, especially so when working for a client.
I approach comics with more of a free hand in terms of subject matter, visual approaches, and story-telling. They remain deeply personal and less constrained by notions of what something should look like or abiding by certain conventions. When I work on a comic, I think about the kind of story I'd like to tell and why it's interesting, and go from there, without specific expectations of what I think it should be. Sometimes I'm surprised by the direction they go in, and it's a lot like watching a film play out in my head and I'm just documenting it.
While the processes are very different, they work for the each particular project so I can't say that one way is better than the other. A lot of the creative process is about adapting to each project in any case and remaining open to ideas, influences, and ways of working,

You are one of the participating artist in the Stacks Exhibition. Could you talk about your year, zine, and the behind-the-scenes work for this particular piece?
RFung Workspace
My year for the Stacks Exhibition is 2013. For my zine, I depicted my trip to New York City, the first time I had ever gone. I went with some friends to attend the Society of Illustrators' Student Scholarship Show and it was four days of the most fun I've ever had in my life with such an amazing and talented group of people. I fell in love with the city, its energy and people. When I came back, I wanted to capture its effervesence and the immediacy of each moment as I experienced it.

What are some of your most important moments in the past thirty years for your creative career? (The year you decided to go to school? The time you saw... The first time you picked up a material, etc. )

In Grade 7 a friend brought in a Calvin and Hobbes collection, It's a Magical World, and I read it for the first time. I think that was one of the most seminal moments of my creative career. I had been drawing comics before that, but they took on a concrete form from then on. I really started to seriously look at sequential art and storytelling as a compelling medium for art and writing.
Going to OCAD University was a crucial part of my creative development. I learned so much in such a short period of time, not just about image-making, but in terms of self-development and the program really instilled in me a stringent work ethic. I met some of the most brilliant, talented, and generous people at that school, whose work I greatly admire and who have helped me so much in my own work.
RFung Firstperiod
First Period

The Stacks zines are not only presented in the gallery, but also given to each of the contributing artists. Did this add additional pressure, inspiration, motivation?

The nature of the Stacks exhibit and project was inherently personally motivating. I love zines so much; they can be raw and honest, and really heartbreakingly beautiful. The idea of authenticity is often ridiculed and debated in the context of postmodernism and irony, but zines are one of the very few things I can say feels very authentic; regardless of the motivations of the creator and its influences, there is still something very honest and personal about zines. Knowing that I was part of a project of this scope was amazing.

RFung Instant Ramen
Instant Ramen of Self-Loathing, page 1

There seems to be an inherent sense of community built into the world of comics. Could you share your experiences with collaboration, sharing projects, and conventions?

In the past few months, I've started discussing with other friends about different collaborative projects. Working solitary for your entire life and suddenly opening up your personal creative process can be intimidating, but also incredibly rewarding. We shall see how it goes, but I'm pretty excited about the prospects!
Zines and comic fairs are very fun: they are full of great collective energy and you meet really awesome people. Last year I co-organized a zine fair last year, and I attend as many as I can in the city. There's something special about the comics and zine community: if you're doing it, it's because you love it, unequivocally. And so meeting other comic creators and their fans is like a homecoming.

RFung Pizza Pie
Pizza Pie Wars, page 2

What projects are you currently working on?

I've got a few projects on the go right now. I'm currently working on a compilation of autobiographical comic shorts for a new zine, as well as writing a longer comic story that I want to risograph. I'm also working on a new illustration and typography portfolio: I'm very excited to try new media, expand my visual vocabulary, just try new things out.

What are some of your favorite resources? Best places, books, movies, website for inspiration?

I love hanging out at the public library, Toronto has probably one of the best public library systems, ever. My favourite resources for inspiration are comics, but it would be impossible to whittle down a list of favourite creators. Anything by Jillian Tamaki would top that list though, for both illustration and comics. Also a fan of Wes Anderson and Charlie Kaufman movies, and anything written by David Foster Wallace. I also enjoy looking at a lot of different design and illustration blogs, plus I am religiously addicted to Sam Weber's podcast Your Dreams My Nightmares. I'd say a lot of the people around me are the greatest resources I have—the community of other illustrator- and artist-friends who are in it with me together. They are great and I love them!

Thank you, Rosena! If you'd like to see more of Rosena's work, or follow her artistic activity, you can check out her website, blog, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Place Art Book - One Year Anniversary Sale!

InPlace_Frontcover_1000 Cover Art by Erik Krenz

We are celebrating the one year anniversary of our In Place Art Book and Project!

In mid 2013, we began an intensive collaborative art project that included the works and efforts of fifty concept artists, illustrators, designers, and writers. Each of the participating artists created a new piece of artwork inspired by some of the most magical, sublime, and sacred locations around the world. This project was launched and released in August 2013. As we recognize the contributing artists and project, we are offering a one year anniversary special! You can read more about the In Place Book on the Light Grey Shop and enter the code INPLACEONEYEAR at checkout for an August anniversary discount.

InPlace_Fetters_pic_1000 Image by JB Casacop

"In Place is a collection of artwork that delves into these sublime, historical, and inspiring places, creating a breathtaking and informative journey through the most epic landscapes on earth. This collaborative project is meant to bring together individuals from all over the world to create a greater understanding of the places we live in and dream of."

In Place Sneak Peek Image by Kim Smith

This project took nearly eight months to complete, tons of research, and a few real life inspirations. Some of the locations include an abandoned ship in edge of Antarctica, the long lost Island of Mu, bustling cities of Portugal, the ancient Bagan Temples, Kowloon Walled City, and more.

bosma_lisbon_final Image by Sam Bosma

The In Place Book and content remains relevant to our own personal practice, love for travel, and experiences of place. The book includes a forward written by Arctic Explorer, Lonnie Dupre, writings about each location, and artist biographies and contact information.

Thanks for your support and interest! The sale will be active through the month of August. You can check out the In Place Book and our other published projects on the Light Grey Shop here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Podcast: In Progess - Dream Arcade

08.11.14_In Progress - Dream Arcade
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

In Progress - Dream Arcade
Length: 01:05:37
Synopsis: It's mid-august and we currently have our heads down working as fast as possible on Dream Arcade, our colorful pixel art videogame extravaganza, which launches on Friday, September 12. Videogames are a pretty new medium to us, so on this week's podcast Jenny, Chris, Francesca and Lindsay talk about the current state of Dream Arcade and what we've learned so far. We discuss the origins of the project, painful stumbles, and exciting breakthroughs over the past several months, as well as some of the practical details when planing a complex exhibition like Dream Arcade.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dream Arcade- Opening September 12th

Dream Arcade Teasers Prewiew by Bianca Bautista

We are proud to present our newest project, collaborative endeavor, and exhibition, Dream Arcade, coming September 12, 2014!

Dream Arcade is a pixelart, platformer exhibition inspired by the colorful artwork, characters, and epic adventures of vintage arcade games. Dream Arcade includes new concepts, stories, and art-filled landscapes, made by thirty contemporary artists and designers from around the world.

Each of the contributing artists have worked alongside the Light Grey team to transform their pixel characters, assets, and backgrounds into movable, interactive and playable worlds. Each artist’s work will be showcased in its own themed arcade level, celebrating the unique concepts, handmade details, and secret pathways that bring the stories and artwork to life!

Dream Arcade Teasers Preview by Adam Hoppus

We invite you to attend the opening reception and party for Dream Arcade on September 12th! Throughout the exhibition, Light Grey Art Lab will be transformed into mini arcade, with all of the playable games, artist assets, additional artwork, and fun extras! Come play through all of the great levels, travel through space and time, discover the ancient relics of forgotten lands, and compete against your friends for the high score!

You can find more information about the opening reception and project on the Dream Arcade facebook event page here, you can also check out the website and find links to play the preview games on the Windows App store!

Dream Arcade Teasers Preview by Leanna Crossan

Thanks for your support and participation!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Temporary Gallery Hours August 13th- 22nd

The Light Grey Team is headed to Iceland! We have been packing our bags, gathering materials, and preparing for our 5-day artist residency!

Urban Sketchcrawl Workshop

Since most of us will be out of town next week, so there will be limited gallery hours.You are welcome to stop by and see the Stacks Exhibition during our temporary hours: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3pm-7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-5pm.

You are also welcome to check out our current events and exhibitions on the Light Grey Website and online shop.

Thanks again and we are excited to share all of the residency details and documentation soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stacks Opening Reception - Recap

Stacks Opening Reception
A huge thanks to everyone who made it out to see the Stacks opening reception! It was a wonderfully intimate evening of nostalgia, smiles, and introspection as visitors poured over each of the 60 zines featured in the gallery.

Stacks Opening Reception
It's an amazingly intimate show to take in, as each zine represents a sneak peek into the lives and mind of the artist from their chosen year, as well as the opportunity to handle the physical, hand-made pieces created by the artists themselves. There was a sense of preciousness as each visitor gingerly picked up a new zine and started reading, head bowed and eyes darting back and forth taking it all in.

Stacks Opening Reception
You can view more photos from the opening reception on our Light Grey Art Lab Flickr set, and you can buy a copy of the limited edition zines on the Light Grey shop! The participating artists each got a copy of every zine in the exhibition, so in total there are only 15 copies available of each to purchase. If there's one you want, grab it soon!

Once again, thanks again to all of the artists, collaborators, and supporters!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Podcast: Stanch Welling Sadness

08.04.14_Stanch Welling Sadness
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

Stanch Welling Sadness
Length: 00:55:01
Synopsis: On this week's podcast, Lindsay, Chris, Francesca and Jenny discuss our thoughts relating to the article 'No Time to Think', recently published in The New York Times. In the article, the author discusses the problem of modern society's tendency to be "overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended," and comments on the the constant need for meaningless mental stimulation. The Light Grey team all had very different reactions to the article, and we thought it would be interesting to use it as a jumping-off point to talk about why people like (or hate) being busy, tasks vs luxuries, and what counts as a personal reflection. We also try to answer the age-old question; does keeping busy actually help, to quote the article, "stanch [our] welling sadness"?

Show Notes:
No Time to Think - The New York Times