I know her sweet little self from Seattle, but now-San Francisco-based artist Chelsea Ryoko Wong tells us about her work and latest publication, Summer on Snow Mountain by Museums Press, an independent publishing house based in Glasgow, UK. Get one here!
Summer on Snow Mountain. Tell us a wee synopsis of this book.
Was it originally made in colour or do you sometimes work in just black?
Summer on Snow Mountain is a zine that was made specifically with the intent of being published by MUSEUMS PRESS. The original drawings are black and white with lots of grays in between. I normally work in color, so this project presented a nice challenge for me. The zine is a work of fiction loosely based on lives and stories of real people that I’ve met. The characters are meant to be quirky and unusual, each presented with their own questionable pasts. The vivid tales that come together in this town form an odd landscape that is both inquisitive and mundane, sort of like the place where I drew my inspiration from.
Your work has this dreamy, curious, humourfully-you euphoria. How does the subject matter come to you? In dreams or when you’re eating pancakes for breakfast or what, how and when?
The subject matter is often inspired by my surroundings. I work pieces of culture into my art, including things I’ve picked up from television, videos, or some thing notable I’ve overheard or seen. Recently I watched the video, “You Sexy Thang” by Hot Chocolate. The singer in the video has on the most amazing, striped pants, and I really want to incorporate him or his outfit some where in my work. He is my current, favorite subject matter, and from him who knows where I might go? I like to let my drawings develop and evolve on their own, creating joyous pieces of fiction that remind me of what I find most entertaining.
In the library of art, would we find your pieces in the fiction section or history (or other)?
That depends on what mood I’m in! I think the subject matter of my pieces could happily fit in the science fiction and fantasy section. But visually I think they relate to folk history. Fashion through the decades would be great, too, but fashion is not at the very soul of my work.
Whatcha workin’ on now?
At the moment I am working on larger drawings where people are flying through space, both metaphorically and physically. I am also writing an article for Art Practical, an online publication based in the Bay Area. At the end of December I will be participating in a pop-up shop at Wire+Nail Gallery put on by Colpa Press. This month my work will be shown in a group show at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery. When I have some free time I’d like to get back to making more books and zines.
I never see him because he is always helping the baby hearts. But that is best. He does have off today, Thanksgiving feast and birthday cake (and by cake I mean pie) tonight. Happy Day, K! So many people are very glad you were born. Photo from July 4th this year, Paradise at Mt. Rainier.
Sending bear hugs across the pond today—we miss you, your baked dishes, and your sweet cheeks.
Big hearts and gratefulness for each and everyone one of you, as well as the kindhearted people we’ve met in London. Save us some jelly mold, Mum! And happy birthday wishes to Drew and Mark and Anna, too. XO. Cards Cool Jane / Stella Marrs / Lazy Oaf / Lazy Oaf / Concrete Lace / Tabletop Made
Thanksgiving in London! Except K and everyone else will be working tomorrow, so we decided to prepare a feast on Saturday instead. However, I made snazzy cranberry sauce (Recipe No. 004)
this morning since it will keep just fine and maybe you will make it, too. An important thanks this Thanksgiving week is for the cooking exposure and encouragement I received from my Mom and Pop and also my dear middle school home economics teacher Mrs. Lafko. A semester in Italy didn’t hurt things either. Enjoy this, and even with all that sugar, it’s still tart but perfect! I have now taste-tested many spoonfuls, naughty me. XO.
INGREDIENTS// 1 medium clementine or satsuma / 5 cups fresh cranberries / 4 in. cinnamon stick / juice of 1 lemon / generous 3/4 cup caster sugar / 1 cup shelled & chopped pecan nuts / 1/2 cup ruby or tawny port (I used the latter but the original recipe called for ruby)
INSTRUCTIONS// Wash and cut the clementine in half and remove any pips plus any really stringy pith. Finely chop the whole fruit, flesh and peel together. Place this, along with cranberries, cinnamon stick and lemon juice in a pot over low heat. Cook until the berries start to pop, then turn down the heat and stir in the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the nuts and port and bring to a boil. Cook over a high heat for 3–5 minutes until thickened. Either let cool and store in fridge for eating immediately or pot into sterilized jars if you’re a canner (it fills 3–4 small jars).
From Ham, Pickles & Jam by Thane Prince
Spotted dick. As giggly as the name seems back home, we now have tried this pudding and loved it. What exactly is it, you ask? It’s an English steamed suet pudding containing dried currents, served with custard. The custard is crème anglaise, similar ingredients to, but nothing like the texture of custard in the states. It is poured as a dessert cream or sauce. Not to be eaten anytime close to bathing suit season! This particular serving is from St. John Bread & Wine, with a few bites already taken.
This particular drawing is an exploration/sneak peek for an upcoming project I’ve been working on.
Trash collection regulations must be more relaxed here than in Seattle, as London seems to have a curious amount of pallets and pieces of 2x4s lying about on its streets. My inner Martha Stewart kicked in (craft not criminal). We happened to need a dining/work table and we also happen to know Sam the architect and his handy assistant/fiancée Jo. They have skills and tools which they brought in a trolley suitcase on the tube. So it all fell into place one sunny Saturday afternoon. K assisted while I snapped pics and baked some mac and cheese.