Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rob Corless Comes From A Land Down Under

Hello Squid Faithful,

My good friend, Rob Corless, has a show at the WWA Gallery, opening next Friday, May 7th at 7pm. His art is super kewl and you should def take the time to check out his blog at Cyanide Sunset.

I met Rob Corless sometime ago. Actually that is a big, fat liey liey lie lie. I've never actually met Rob Corless, although I've known him for sometime now. Ours is a 21st century friendship. It began when I saw a painting of his I just had to have on the reader art section of Juxtapoz's website. From there we became Myspace friends, because this was back in the day when people actually used Myspace. (Did I just date myself?) We've now transitioned to Facebook friends and I have full faith that one day we may actually be face to face, real life friends, but its more likely we'll just start following each other on Twitter.

Anyways, enjoy getting to know Rob Corless the same way I have, by reading his answers to my asinine questions on a computer screen. YAY FOR TECHNOLOGY!!!!!

DR: I've known you for a while now and I keep meaning to ask you this, what the hell is going on in that head of yours?

RC: Ticking clocks and time bombs, and there is a net with a giant hole in it. And there is a strange dwarf that always laughs at me, kind of like a David Lynch movie.

DR: I know you have a regular comic in Strange Aeons Magazine and comics of your creation have been featured in Planet Lovecraft several times. What would you say were the most influential comics to you growing up and what comics are you into now?

RC: The most influential would have to be The Maxx. Sam Keith's art really drew me in, but it was the story that made me rethink comics in general. It made me realize that comics could be more than just flashy good guys vs bad guys stories, but a very relate-able format for storytelling. I don't tend to read many comics these days. I enjoy drawing them and mainly spend time trying to get my own projects to see the light of day. Slowly but surely Dave, I'm sure you can appreciate that.

DR: An Asian influence seems to pop up in your work from time to time. Is this because you are a ninja sir, or is there a more probable and thereby boring reason?

RC: I'm much too clumsy to be a ninja so there has to be another reason. I really enjoy Japanese art and design, particularly the Ukiyo-e prints by the greats like Utagawa and Hokusai, and this must translate in to my art in some way. I do tend to use dragons in my work which are very recognisable as an Asian symbol of strength and spiritualism.

DR: Let's say there is some validity to the theory of reincarnation. Do you think its possible that you've eaten some of your ancestors?

RC: That could be possible. Sorry about that, but that's life I guess. Maybe they should have tried harder in their past life and they wouldn't have ended up as part of my meal.

DR: For those that don't know you, describe yourself, but do it as if you were writing a personal add on Craigslist.

RC: Well-meaning Australian artist seeks validity in Artworld on some level.

DR: Your painting "The Sparrow Visit" involves a man with what appears to be a bag lunch and a box on his head. Do tell.

RC: The image the box-headed man started off as a scribble that I found amusing. I thought it was kind of crazy for this guy to be hiding this way seeing as he was obviously out and interacting with the world. There is no real underlying meaning. I prefer to hear what people take away from the image.

DR: What are your feelings on boxed wine?

RC: Great for playing Wheel of Goon. Hang the inner bag to a clothes-line, spin it. Whoever it stops over has to skull. It reminds me of parties many years ago.

DR: I have no idea what the hell you just said. Moving on. What is your favorite thing to do when nobody is looking?

RC: Sleeping. It is such a precious commodity.

DR: This is your first solo show in The States. As an outsider looking in what are your impressions of our fine country?

RC: Growing up in Australia in the 80's I had a healthy dose American pop culture pumped into my brain in the form of TV sitcoms, movies, music etc. Starting from then I guess the US has always had a kind of fascinating appeal. Also there seem to be more opportunities to have a large audience see my art.

DR: Throughout all of the paintings in "Offerings" there is healthy dose of fantasy. What do you fantasize about? And may I remind you that your kids might read this someday.

RC: When I was a kid I would wish that I had super powers. That I was able to fly or zap somebody with my hands. Now days when I'm working on a story for a comic I'll try to put myself in the scenario to try and come up with some ideas, but I wouldn't really call that fantasizing. I guess I fantasize about ordinary things like traveling the world or what I'd do if I came into loads of money. Probably the same as most people.

DR: One last question, what is the deal with the extra u in color? Colour? Seriously? Seriously?

RC: In Australia we firmly believe in inefficiently placing extra irrelevant letters in certain words. I don't know, blame the Queen. It's her English.

For more information and to view Rob's available artwork from the "Offerings", visit WWA gallery.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rey Ortega Land

A Conversation with Rey Ortega
By Rob Faucette

Rey Ortega

Rey Ortega is a mind traveler. With his vision and power, he travels to a place that only he can journey to, but has the ability to show us what he sees. In Ortega’s drawings, paintings, and illustrations, there is a kind of quietness in the way these creatures and landscapes and themes (from love to ruins to death) are captured and brought back to us. Rey brings us pictures he has taken of The Land which exists as a mental geography: part archeology, part history, we eagerly await the images from his latest exploration.

In preparation for Rey Ortega’s show, set to open at WWA gallery on May 7th, I asked Rey a few questions.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Pretty much from an early age, I always wanted to be an artist. I didn't know what exactly being a visual artist meant, mostly I just wanted to draw. There was brief period when I was like, 6, where I considered being a Firefighter, mostly for the trucks, and an Astronaut, mostly for the Spaceships.

What is your favorite memory?

That's a tough one to pin down to just one. That one time I caught a huge pike while fishing, climbing to the very height of an Aztec pyramid, late nights at the studio back at school, the day I got a Nintendo.

When do you do your best work?

Either early in the morning, which I find is a good way to set the tone for the rest of the day, or late at night, when the rest of the world is sleeping.

In your exploration of The Land, what is your most interesting discovery?

The Land is filled with weird stuff that I haven't entirely explored yet. Right now it has to be all the ruins and statues.

Rey Ortega

What is the earliest record of The Land and the People or Inhabitants?

There might be a long lost crayon drawing of the The Land, buried somewhere in a box...maybe some doodles on a wall that have been washed off long ago. Basically the first time I drew was the first time The Land was made, although I didn't know it at the time. It's all about being imaginative.

What is the most interesting custom in The Land?

That would have to be the tradition of rock garden maintenance and totem pole carving competitions.

Why is fantasy and myth (or myth making) important to a culture?

I think it was important, especially in the case of ancient civilizations, because mythology was a way to understand the world. Everything from where the sun goes at night, to why we feel love or jealousy. Even now, I still think there are important lessons buried underneath the veil of fantasy stories.

Rey Ortega

These days mythology and fantasy are important to our culture because they essentially are a part of our culture. The way we tell the stories, and the people involved, might have changed, but even something that we might categorize as "pop" culture is still really important to our collective identity. Super Mario, Avatar, Zombies, we might not see it right now, but it's part of a new culture and heritage.


What have been major influences on you?

First and foremost, the work of Jim Henson. Everything from Sesame Street, to the Muppet Show and then into movies like Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal.

The Dark Crystal

He was probably the first person that I recognized as a creator of a "world", and even though something like Kermit the Frog doesn't seem all that related to the Dark Crystal, still I feel like there is a common thread between all of them. A sensibility that informs Jim Henson's work that extends beyond just puppetry. Something heartfelt, quirky, something fantastic but also grounded in reality too.

Another big influence are the games from Fumito Ueda, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2. They go beyond what we normally understand what a video game is, and yet show a deep appreciation for the gaming tradition too. The way those games convey a feeling of place, of loneliness and huge sense of scale, I try and communicate that in my work too.

Fumito Ueda

Those are the big ones, but I try to throw in almost everything that I see and here in my day to day life in my work. My parent's organic vegetable garden, moss growing on rocks, relationships, a funny conversation I had with friends.

Rey Ortega

Rey Ortega earned his Bachelor's in Illustration from Sheridan College. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eye Heart stenSOUL

The Art of Peat Wollaeger
by Stephanie Chefas

Eye Diver Hollywood 3010 by Peat Wollaeger

'Suburban dad by day and stencil graffiti artist by night' is how one of L.A. 3010's stand out artists, Peat Wollaeger describes himself. This St.Louis based artist has been making his mark on the streets for years with his raw, brightly colored stencil characters. Fortunately for us, he agreed to taking a little time out to create Eye Diver Hollywood 3010 for the Squids 2nd group show. We were so blown away by his contribution- the EYE burning hues of gold and orange and his haunting commentary of Los Angeles sliding into the Pacific in the not too distant future- we just had to know more about this soulful artist. Here Peat shares some insight into his artwork and what makes him 'tick'.

Stephanie Chefas (SC): What was your initial reaction upon hearing the theme for 'L.A. 3010'?

Peat Wollaeger (PW): I guess what LA might look like in one hundred years and sad to say Global Warming was the first thing that popped in my mind. Immediately thought of the Hollywood hills turning into Coastal Property.

SC: How do you see Los Angeles today?

PW: Smoggy...Grimey...California Dreamin'! A lot of really sick work and galleries coming out of that town.

SC: Would you tell me a little bit about your background?

PW: I started doing Graphic Design for the godfathers of Guerilla Marketing in the early 90’s for clients like Camel Cigarettes, Salem and Coca-cola. Once I saw how underhanded this world was....I left it behind and started doing my own “Guerilla art” with stencils and spray-paint.

Conan O'Brien and Peat Wollaeger

SC: Tell me about your creative process.

PW: I create images that come deep from with-in my SOUL... I create them, digitally in Photoshop/Illustrator, CUT-them out and then Spray them on many different surfaces on and off the Street. I am also a video artist and create numerous stencil videos where I show my process or become the charater that I am painting. Peep some videos here --

Peat in his studio

SC: What's the significance of the "eye"?

PW: The Eye represents the window to my “SOUL” and IS at the very heart of every stenSOUL piece that I spray! The eye has always been at the center of my art. One of the first paintings I created was of an eye, and is the first thing that stands out when you look at my work.

SC: As a graffiti artist, have you ever found it difficult to find the right representation?

PW: I do not consider myself a Graffiti Artist, because I feel I do not vandalize. I have respect for the places that I put up my art, and with not paint over raw brick or a property that has been taken care of. I guess I would consider my self more of a Street Artist and I always try to make my canvas look better than when I arrived.

SC: If I were to spend a day with Peat, what could I expect the day to be like?

PW: Non-stop action!

SC: What's the one thing you can not live without?

PW: My Family.

SC: The one thing you can't live with?

PW: Haters.

SC: Which artist, living or dead, has influenced you and your work the most?

PW: Undoubtedly it would be Keith Haring.
He was the first artist I saw doing street art in the 80’s and his colors and energy completely spoke to me. I did a Massive tribute to Keith at Art Basel in Miami for Primary Flight a few years back, I even dressed up like him and painted his portrait in character. ( ) While I was in Melbourne, I notice a building that he painted was Badly faded and was up for sale and was possibly going to be torn I left a message on the front gate that said “Never Forget Keith”

Peat's tribute to Keith Haring

SC: What's on the horizon for Peat?

PW: This summer I am doing a massive Mural project in Beacon NY called Electric Windows with pieces by Logan Hicks, Ron English, Chris Stain, Bigfoot and more... I also have a show at Brooklyn's Mighty Tanaka Gallery with Robots will Kill and Choice Royce in September. Keep and EYE out for more stuff at

Thanks Peat! Be sure to check out Peat's art at the L.A. 3010 group show. Show runs until May 1st.

For more information and to view Peat's available artwork from the "L.A. 3010" group show, visit
WWA gallery. To learn more about Peat and his art, visit