Studio visit with Chad Gordon
Through collages composed of found images and price tags, Chad Gordon explores ideas of culture, tradition, and faith.
Natalie Kates: I came across the work of artist Chad Gordon on Instagram. Coming from a fashion background I was drawn to his works of inundated stickers on fashion magazine pages. The type of sticks you would see for pricing or sales items at a grocery store. I loved the juxtaposition of fashion photography and national geographic cultures mixed with fluorescent stickers who’s placement was not random but filled with whimsy and cheekiness.
NK: Two weeks later I am in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at the studio of artist Chad Gordon. The first thing I notice in his studio is his art collection. Chad, not only are you an artist but you have a beautiful art collection. How did your acquire your collection?
Chad Gordon: From trading my artwork and buying, however it works out.
NK: Did you go to art school?
CG: I went to Columbus College for Design.
NK: What do you find your material to work with?
CG: I’m constantly searching for new material. Sometimes I go to half-price bookstores, sometimes I walk around my neighborhood and people always stick piles of books on the stoop and I just go through them and bring them back to my studio. I use a lot of fashion magazines, which started because my wife works in fashion. She would bring me magazines from her work. I also material in old and new books, I do not want an image to look really dated, like an old book from the ‘70s. I like to look a lot for its proportion cause I am looking for images where proportions are right, I am not changing the size of the stickers or anything, there are just stickers layered in with price tags.
NK: Has social media played an important role for you as an artist?
CG: I don’t have Facebook, I never used any other social media until instagram over a year ago when a roommate from art school e-mailed me, said “Why don’t you use Instagram, I want to see what you’re working on?”. I have met some really cool people, I’ve been e-mailing with some artists, so it worked pretty well.
NK: If you could collaborate with another artist who would it be and why?
CG: Maybe Arturo Herrera, it would be fun to collaboration and I think I could learn a lot from him. I’m currently collaborating with fashion photographer Nicco Santos from Manila.
NK: Is this collaboration for an upcoming show?
CG: It’s all in the work phase right now, we are e-mailing a lot, Nicco said he might have an opportunity to show them in Manila or Singapore.
NK: Your studio seems very organized, you have magazines in a pile, you have your file cabinets. When you are starting on a new work do you always know how you want the placement of stickers and how the final piece will look?
CG: A lot of times, process just starts by grabbing a stack of magazines or books, and just going through it and, like, this whole thing is full of torn up pages. So, a lot of times I just pull stuff like if it catches my eye and when I go back, sometimes I just have something in mind, sometimes just start placing stickers to see where it goes, you know.
NK: Tell me a little bit about the creative process and a typical day at your studio.
CG: My studio is in my apartment so I don’t really have a set studio time ever, I just work 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there throughout the day, and in the evening I sit down for a longer period of time, and actually a lot of times the studio just acts like the storage and I work in my kitchen cause I have that table, I listen to music, I listen to the radio, I listen to the news, that’s just background noise and sometimes I like to listen to basketball games but most of the time it's music.
NK: Before meeting you in person I had a chance to look at your new website. Your visual voice is really distinctive. I have not seen anybody else doing anything close to what you are doing. How did you get to this point? How did you figure out that the stickers would be a part of your medium?
CG: I like the stickers because image to image they can change their meaning, or if there is a meaning I like how it hits really diverse, you know, it honestly started like when I was in art school and looking at all these other artists I love, reading, a lot of them have such interesting stories and I felt like I don’t have an interesting story, I’m kinda generic. Just grew up in the Midwest, I didn’t think there is anything that interesting in my background and I was thinking like Midwest, 99 cent stores everywhere, shopping malls, and outlet stores and that’s what it is, that’s how it started.
NK: That totally makes sense. Do you have any shows coming up in the future that you are working on?
CG: Yes, I have a show at Wolves Within from September 26th to October 26th, 2013 which Juxtapoz magazine just blogged about.
NK: Where is Wolves Within and how did you get to show there?
CG: Wolves Within is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Max, the owner of the store actually called the show “Who is Chad Gordon?”, because he also saw my work on Instagram and was looking online for me to contact me, and at the time, my site over the years has been up and down. I put it up and then take it down after a few months and I just got behind, photographing my work and I wasn’t up for a couple of years. But yea, he called it “Who is Chad Gordon?” because he couldn’t find me also.
NK: Do you have gallery representation?
CG: No, not right now. I’ve had a couple of talks with some galleries recently, but so far, no.
NK: Where would you like to see Chad Gordon? Most artists start with a gallery, museum shows, being placed in collections, is this also the path you would like to take?
CG: Yes, that would be great. Currently I have a job, 9 to 5 job. The goal is to spend more time working on my work, so how that happens is fine with me. I have a job so a lot of work I do in the evenings and weekends, but I am always at it, gathering materials and cutting them up.
NK: I’m an ‘80s kid, and love anything day glow and fluorescent. The stickers you use are all day glow and fluorescent, is the color something that you thought about?
CG: Yes, I love fluorescent colors, I was young in ‘80s but I remember it, fluorescent T-shirts, I like graphics on T-shirts, fluorescent colors and things like that. I like the scale too. I like small artwork and a lot of artwork I have is pretty small. I like stickers. Most of my work is pretty small because of that and the fluorescent is pretty strong color so it’s nice to have them small.
NK: If someone out there is reading this interview and trying to get a hold of you and possibly purchase a piece of art, what would be the best way to reach you?
CG: Right now, it is e-mail, or contact Wolves Within while my show is hanging. I have 15 pieces up there, they are all for sale, professionally framed and ready to hang.
NK: I will be sure to check out your show and would love to have an original piece in my collection. Your work is beautiful and I certainly see you having an amazing career ahead of you. Thank you for having me today!
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