Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Say Hello to Troy Gua

The Handshake

I first saw Troy's art this summer. We became Facebook friends and then discovered that we have a mutual friend. All three of us went out to lunch last week and talked about Prince and high school and art.

Troy's paintings are hyper-graphic iconic images in perfectly matched complementary colors. The morphed pairings create a camouflage of acrylic. They're really striking and they're hard to read so you really have to visually investigate. Then you realize that it's both John Wayne and Elton John superimposed over each other. Which is funny in and of itself, but then you realize that John Wayne was an avowed homophobe while Elton John is an avowed homosexual. Funny and smart!

Troy and I had a little interview via email.

The Mona Lisa Marie

Out of all the Faces, do any make you laugh out loud (lol, i think the kids are calling it now)? You were saying something about Pope John Paul Stanley. Just saying it makes me smile because I start to form the visual.

Yeah, they all sort of make me “lmao”, if you will, which I suppose is why I do them. My wife Catherine and I sit on the couch and brainstorm these silly combinations that sometimes actually have deeper connections than you may guess. For instance, “The Mona Lisa Marie”, which is DaVinci’s Mona Lisa combined with Lisa Marie Presley, portrays two very famous women who, besides sharing a name, share a fame that is due in whole only to the trickle down effect of fame from the men who created them. “The Boy King of Pop”, King Tut and Michael Jackson, refers to two boys thrust into early fame and glory only to end up behind masks, figuratively and literally. But I gotta say, with The Pope John Paul Stanley, it’s really just about the conjoined names and the hilarity of seeing those iconic images combined. Maybe I’ll come up with some kind of connection in there. The Holy Father and Star Child? Lol!

The Boy King of Pop

You make art full-time. When were you able to quit your day job and just get nuts about your art?

Well, a little over three years ago I met an angel named Catherine who saved me from a life of gray meaninglessness and encouraged and inspired me to be the true Technicolor me that I was meant to be, so here I am. I quit my crappy job working for my brother (which I do not recommend - and I don’t just mean working for your relatives, I mean my brother specifically. Bad, bad idea.) about two years ago, and I’ve been working my arse off ever since.

Tabloid Trinity: Paris, Lindsey, Britney
Handcut paper, wood, glass

You've had a few distinct series. Circles, Flags, Faces (what I like to call Face Paintings). What would you say connects them all?

I’d like to think that all my work has a very distinct crispness and a unifying ultra-modern aesthetic. I think my work is super bold and stays with you long after you walk away. I want my work to etch itself into the viewer’s minds, to be stamped onto their brains. Forever. Does that sound too aggressive? Oh well.

The Davids

You are another artist who seems to always be showing. Are you going to slow down? What does 2009 look like for you?

I don’t want to slow down – gotta keep this train a-rollin’! Yeah, I try to keep myself out there as much as possible. I’m trying to break into the “scene”, make it “big”, or just plain make “it”, but being more of a homebody than a scenester doesn’t really help. Having my work out there is a good start. I’ve got a show in January (come one, come all!) that I’m hoping is gonna set a killer tone for the new year.

Your next show is a continuation of the Face Series?

Yes sir. I’m pretty excited about it – all new 48” x 48” pieces. I’ve got some pretty good ones planned. I wanna tell you some of them, but I don’t wanna give anything away! Okay, how ‘bout “The Elton John Wayne.”

The Ronald McReagan

Do people tell you, 'Hey, I got an idea for a painting?' I'll bet that's really helpful! ['cuz you should totally do Mary-Kate and Ashley]

All the time, and they’re usually pretty bad. Like the idea of doing famous twins, for instance – who look exactly alike. ;)

Do you get many fan emails? Was I the first? I really liked your paintings as soon as I saw them. They make me totally jealous!

I usually get “friended” (yes, I am using the new vernacular) on Facebook or Myspace by people who see my stuff somewhere or are fellow, totally jealous artists. [True fact! I did.] It’s funny you say that, because besides being an amazing artist yourself, you are so extremely supportive of other artists that I can’t even stand it. It makes me sick, actually. I’m completely jealous of you, Joey Veltkamp.

What was your favorite tv show as a kid?

Hmm, good question. Well, growing up in a Boob Tube Dictatorship, I was subject to hours and hours of mind-numbing newscasts and Lawrence Welk shows. Primetime was not my time, although I dug me some Love Boat and Dallas. The 6 Million Dollar Man, when I could get it. The AM found me watching as much Star Blazers as time allowed before I had to take off for school. I loved Sesame Street and JP Patches too. Do you know who that is? Movies were much more influential. Stars Wars had a huge impact on me. Still does.

The Divine

Do you show outside of Seattle/Western Washington? Any place locally you've been wanting to show at?

I’ve been in a few shows out of state. I was in an emerging artists show at Lana Santorelli Gallery in New York and a couple of small shows in Dallas (what?!) as well as the Expressions West juried show at the Coos Art Museum in Oregon earlier in the year. Y’know, I just really want to show at a gallery that’s gonna help me achieve my goal, Joey; art world domination, and then rest of the world domination. It’s just that simple.

Anything else you want to add?

Besides the fact that it has been a pleasure getting to meet you and chat with you, Joey Veltkamp? Seriously, it has been a pleasure, and thank you for taking such an interest in my art. I feel it deserves an audience, a big, huge, planet-sized audience, and I hope your readers do too! TROYGUA.COM, pass it on!

My pleasure! Can't wait for January, mostly cause it's my birthday, but also for your next show. ;)

The Escape


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting troy recently and couldn't agree more--good guy/awesome art. I'm especially a fan of the Faces.
Thanks for this interview--it was a pleasure.

kelcan said...

great new work and a great interview.
i like your light hearted approach to the work!

Anonymous said...

I agree with both posts. The dialog between these two really is a pleasure to read. Good luck, Troy!

Anonymous said...

Nice interview. You're really make the Q&A a speciality. But I have to say, you can't wait for your birthday? What bright side of what heavenly bed do you roll out of? My birthday is in January too. Naturally, I await it with the usual dread. Regina Hackett

Joey Veltkamp said...

haha -- well, EVERY year I hate my birthday too! so i'm trying something new this year. i'll let you know if it works. :)

Anonymous said...

Correction: Troy Gua will no longer be exhibiting at La Familia Gallery this January.