In this review, Emily Mitchell sits down with our current exhibiting artist, Mega to discuss his artistic practice and exhibition, Longing To Be Knotted Together currently on display at ARThive.
Mega's illustrations aren't for the faint hearted; aesthetically intense, culturally loaded and a little bit quirky. They will leave you visually satisfied!
Longing to be knotted together opened at Arthive on the 15th of April. It will show for an entire month which means there's no excuse for you to not be down here and taking a peek at this spectacular array of icons, cultural innuendo, and crawling insects, set within the jungle of Bali. The French born artist is a motivated one. He lives and breathes illustrations, graphic design and iconography. In the show, the humble jungle is juxtaposed against the loaded themes of the symbolic image. Mega makes it work, simplifying matters with a minimal palette, or a linking composition.
Curating the show himself, Mega suggested that the way the prints had been arranged was a direct allusion to the way he lived in Bali. He had placed two jungle scenes on each end and the mixed iconic works in between. This is the way he lives; the jungle surrounds him and images of icons, warriors and savage girls absorb his head.
Mega is inspired by his everyday surroundings, and living in the jungle of Bali creates no exception. He likes his life to be simple and true, enjoying authentic Balinese food and informal chats with his neighbours. "Balinese hindu create small offerings displayed on banana leaves on a daily basis, sometimes three times a day, and to me this is art."
Mega keeps inspired by listening to loads of music, from old school funk and soul to new school hip hop. He works day and night and believes that "art is about perseverance and there are no reasons not to work, just poor excuses."
When quizzed about where his love for creativity began he explained,
"It all started when I was a kid. Back then I would spend days and days cutting magazines and pasting new layouts in order to create cool covers for my tapes. I did pretty bad in my art school. I had the usual bunch of bad teachers, who were more like frustrated unsuccessful artists than good educators. So I just stopped going to the school and started spending most of my time painting the walls of my city and the trains of my region. In a way I hated graffiti more than I loved it. I was more attracted by the typographical researches, the forms and colors, than by B-boy characters and all those “wild style” shitty letters that were considered to be cool at the time. I never bought any graffiti magazines, and always founded more inspiration in graphic design books. So, after a couple of years it became natural for me to explore the computer possibilities, as an extension of what I did on the walls."
The uncanny combination of the jungle mixed with cultural icons is what astounds the viewer when attempting to understand Mega's work. Without their typical context, it makes the focus on these icons much more exaggerated. The show is perfect for Arthive; fitting in with the fun, contemporary and edgy approach the gallery has in all of their exhibitions.
Longing to be knotted together is touring to Newcastle, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Marseille, Paris, and probably more. Be sure to check out Mega's website - www.ilovemega.com It features loads of amazing, detailed works and details about this exhibition.