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Was it originally made in colour or do you sometimes work in just black?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.