justART! SUPER 16-BIT SIGHT

Words by Jenkin Au
Photography by Andy Fang
Check out more at Alex’s WEBSITE

Alex Cho is a very talented painter, sculptor, and all round artist. He is featured in this issue’s section of justART! because his eye definitely caught our attention. Alex just finished from Langara and will move on to Emily Carr University to pursue his love for art. Read on to find out more about Alex.

Who is this art geek?

Just a normal dude who likes bikes and art.

How did you get into art?

I pretty much wasn’t good anything besides art. I went to school called St. Francis Xavier and during Chinese classes, instead of studying Chinese, I would be drawing on my desk.

Yeah, I hear you. Chinese class is pretty boring.

Yeah, calligraphy is just over and over again, but it lends itself to typography and stuff like that.

Did you start off with doodles then?

Yeah, I started off with doodles, then basic paintings. Right now, I’m into metal working and sculptures and stuff like that.

What kind of artist would you describe yourself as?

One that wants to do almost everything. I will probably be in school for a long time; I pretty am in love with art.

If you could only choose between water colours, crayons, or pastels, which would you choose?

Water colours. They’re pretty fast and it makes it easy to do illustrations. You get pretty vibrant colours from them.

Film or digital?

FIlm.

Why is that?

I just like the nostalgia that surrounds it. My dad was an insurance agent, and we would go out with him in the car and take photos of houses. My brother and I would just screw around with his Polaroid and just take photos with that.

Who do you look up to?

Right about now, it would probably be Ashley Wood. He’s a comic book artist and he did stuff like a new version of Tank Girl and Jamie Hewitt as well. Also, the new artists coming out of Fecal Face, which is a San Francisco based art blog kind of thing, and artists that do customizations on vinyl toys like Munny or Teddy Troops.

Do you do the vinyl toys as well?

I’ve done one so far and I’m working on one right now.

How long does it take you?

It takes me around six hours or something like that.

What do you value more, inspiration or a beautiful artwork?

Inspiration. It’s harder to come by.

What inspires you, then?

Going to art shows and seeing people do some really cool shit. I start thinking that I should be doing something rather than sitting around playing video games; eventually I get around to doing something. Usually, I go for bike rides and ideas come to me, or hanging out and then the ideas usually come.

Why 16 bit? Why not 32 or 64? (Alex’s blog is called “Super 16 Bit”)

16 bit is what the Sega Genesis had, and it was an awesome system.

What form of art do you think is the true raw form of art? This can be from visual, performing, or audible art.

Personally, I am a bit biased. I would say visual art would be the main thing. With performance art, I don’t really understand enough to say anything about it, but audible art, I can always dig.

When you look at the word “art”, what do you see?

I see a lot of doodles and sculptures; I see a lot of things. I see a whole bunch of things that are coming up right now.

What do you think is the rarest form of art?

Something that is really deep and at the same time, not pretentious. Nowadays, it’s just really conceptual and people don’t understand what it is. There’s a joke on the internet and it says, “conceptual art is an equation. Conceptual art equals, ‘I could have done that’, plus, ‘but you didn’t’.”

Does art have the potential to make the blind see, and the deaf hear?

That’s really deep. Yeah, I guess so, but I’m not deaf or blind, or have any friends that are deaf or blind so I really couldn’t tell you.

Have you ever incorporated your personal experiences in your own art?

I find that with most of my projects, I tend to like the ones that are more personal, rather than the ones with some random concept that I came up with. With the most recent project that I made, it was a rickshaw based on my experiences from backpacking and it was about the size of a Mini. I submitted it for the environmental design and won $300.

Very nice. Where did you backpack to?

Just around these mountains, here. I did a bike tour when I was 16 with a bunch of friends and just trying to do the whole self sustaining travel.

The art community, both virtual and physical, provides great support to its artists. Has the local community, not necessarily the art scene, provided similar support?

In a way it has and in a way hasn’t; there’s still a bit of elitism in it. I was in Seattle a couple weeks ago, and something as basic as street art tags and stickers were just everywhere. Here, no one wants it. I think it is bullshit because if you want a good piece, you got to head down to the train yards or other spots find them. It’s way more prominent there.

What is your definition of THX?

It’s just really fucking cool. We were watching Star Wars for the first time on VHS and my dad would play it over and over again. He would say, “kids, this is fucking awesome.” It kind of stuck.

Where do you think the HYPE in art is?

I would say design. People are making really cool designs. I really like where this accessible art is going.

What is HYPE?

HYPE is just what you make it. It’s like someone telling you about something that’s really sweet and that you should check it out. People are just HYPEing it up and getting it around through word of mouth. That’s what I see it as.