Destroy Rock City: Q&A with Lee Misenheimer

One of the first fables I heard as a little girl growing up in Japan was "Red Ogre & Blue Ogre" story. It’s interesting that I learned about mythical figures before physical things like typewriters, walls or paintings. In old Japan the ogre was created to teach kids morals. He was the perfect embodiment of good, evil, fear, love, and all the other traits of human nature. So it was natural that I felt instant connection to Lee’s illustrations of scary mythical characters when I saw them. I was also curious why this American person was so into drawing ogres.

Q1: Your images look like they are from a great saga. Who is this figure above and what is the story you are trying to tell with this illustration.
i definitely think a lot of my work or the characters in them are searching for something... what that is i'm not sure... but you could probably use a title of "the seeker" to describe this and much of my work. i've also been fascinated with constructing my own mythologies. i like to think the characters in my work are part of some odd mythological narrative... well in my own head anyway.

Q2: Were you into monsters when you are growing up? What were your favorite ones? Who is your current favorite?
i was very into monsters and creatures as a kid. i was totally fascinated with H.R. Pufnstuf. way back when, and while not so much a monster, he was definitey an interesting sort of creature. i was pretty amazed with any of the Sid and Marty Krofft productions, and of course anything related to Jim Henson. The Dark Crystal is a totally an amazing movie. it is completely unique and sinister. also very early on i was always venturing around the woods with my friends. so i think this sparked a lot of imagination of monsters in the woods. Where the Wild Things Are would also be a favorite of my childhood as well. currently i am very fascinated with Japanese mythology.

Q3: Do you believe in supernatural thing? Have you had experienced with it?
hmmm... haven't had to much experience with the supernatural. although i'd like to believe there's whole other sets of energy and spirit out there they we are not quite tapped into. the idea of supernatural is very inspiring though.

Q4: What is the first art you made? And what did it look like?
i remember way back making a drawing of a turkey using my hand as a base shape. also i remember being very good at drawing the profile view of big rig trucks, 18 wheelers. i would study these trucks as my family drove to where ever. trying to get all the details down as a kid was very challenging. the best part of this process was drawing the airbrush art that appeared on the side of truck cabs such as a sexy pin up girl. it was always interesting to try to translate this onto paper using crayons.

Q5: You have a very unique illustration style. How did you develop your current style? What was your inspiration?
i've definitely been heavily influenced by japanese prints over the last few years. the soothing quality of repetitive line drawing is very appealing. trying to break out of that somewhat lately. haven't quite found a new comfort zone yet. we'll see what comes along.

Q6: What magazines/ publications/web feature illustrations worthwhile to look? is always full of good drawing/illustration sites. i was a big fan of The Drama Magazine while it was in publication. but sadly i haven't been looking at too many magazines or books recently. i should get out more.

Q7: What music do you listen to when you draw?
right now i'm on a heavy rotation of Battles, Blood Brothers and Part Chimp... but i've been known to listen to way too much YES.

Q8: What are you wearing today?
today i am wearing a faded black tee (kinda dirty), Levi's 505 jeans, a pair of black suede Vans and a substantial beard (getting an early start on the winter super scruff).

Q9: Where is your favorite place to hang out?
home mostly. but we take our dog to McCarren park a lot as well. i am a fan of Barcade... i can get a Coke and some beef jerky and entertain myself for hours playing old school video games. it can be a very affordable evening. and i'm definitely a fan of any place that serves pork belly... Fette Sau is dreamy.

Q10: What are the random funny jobs you had in the past? Also what do you think you’d become if you weren’t professional illustrator/artist?
paperboy, busboy, lawn care were my main sources of income early on. the craziest job i had was driving a huge truck for a rock quary. it was super challenging and fun, but kinda dangerous now that i think about it. i think my dream alternate career would to be a chef. i've often thought about dropping everything and running off to culinary school. but if any future endeavor includes a vegetable garden, i'll be stoked.

Q11: What are you working on right now?
currently i'm working on a large format vector drawing for the Todays Art Festival in The Hague. the work will be projected onto the City Hall Building i think at a size of about 32 x 32 meters. should be pretty fun. it's always amazing to see your work at such a large scale. this is really the firs thing i've done in awhile, i'm just coming out of a pretty big creative slump and i'm excited to get some new ideas onto paper. also perhaps look for a small destroy rock city book in the beginning of 2008.

Thanks, Lee!

Special thanks to Dan.

See more of Lee's great illustrations at

Studiofeast: Q&A with Mike Lee

When I used to live at 18 Eckford there were a lot of dinner parties. I got invited to neighbors’ parties and I also threw many at my loft. Hosting dinner parties is exciting. I thrive on making my guests happy. I want to make sure the food is tasty, unique yet comforting. I pick the wine that goes with the food. I light candles in holders that match the tablecloth. I fill the vases with exotic flowers. I make a new playlist for background music. The ice cream for dessert has to be a one of a kind flavor from Il Laboratorio del Gelato. One time I actually skipped work to buy fresh fish for a dinner. I even thought of shaving my head so that my hair wouldn’t fall into the food.I become too meticulous. So by the end of the meal I run out of the energy to enjoy my own party. So when my friend Tom gave me tips on Studiofeast, who throw dinner parties at undisclosed locations all over Williamsburg, I immediately checked it out online. What Studiofeast offered seemed to me the coolest thing money can buy in the entire universe. The food made by the founder Mike Lee and his right hand man Derrick Yuen is elaborate, decadent and meaty yummy.

Q1: How did you come up with this great project? Can you tell us the story behind the birth of Studiofeast
Studiofeast was created to give a great culinary experience that's somewhere in between and completely different from a restaurant or dinner party. The seed was planted 4 years ago in my old Morningside Heights apartment where my roommate and I had weekly "Lobs Wednesdays" dinners of lobster-everything. The guests would rotate every week, so it was a different tone each time. We got really good at making all things lobster and were so systematic about the night that we almost printed up fake Zagat reviews of ourselves to slip into the guidebooks at Barnes and Noble.

I've since then moved into a larger studio, and the dinner parties here steadily grew in scope until they needed a bigger, more structured platform of expression. This is where Studiofeast came about. I loved the idea of having a restaurant-like environment that didn't have the financial and conceptual fixed costs of a traditional restaurant. It was like smashing a restaurant into a rave.

With Studiofeast, I had complete creative control and didn't have to make certain compromises that many restauranteurs inevitably make just to stay in business. By removing the certain parts of the profit motive, we could be wholly focused on doing something honest, unique, and creative.

Q2: What is your clientele like?
One of the greatest things about Studiofeast is how diverse and friendly our guests are, and it's always very gratifying for me to see people from very different walks of life getting along. This is very important. Whenever you're sharing a meal with people, your mouth spends about 20% of its time chewing the food and the remaining time is spent gabbing on with your table mates--that 80% can make or break your night.

Q3: Your dishes look very beautiful. Do you have a background in art and design?
I do and I don't. I have a degree in business, but spent some time at Parsons studying graphic design as well. I've worked in finance, marketing, advertising, and graphic design, but the presentation of the food derives from my aesthetic sensibilities. The other disciplines have helped greatly in organizing and promoting the Studiofeast events--there's a lot more than a good eye and steady hand that goes into making a pretty plate.

Q4: What was your family feast growing up?
Family feasts growing up were relentless. Most of my family tree lives within a 20 mile radius of each other in suburban Detroit and they collectively own 3 restaurants in the area. So with 80% of your family working late restaurant hours, special occasions like birthdays were celebrated with 10 course meals that started at 12am, often running to 3:30am. Grandpa would have the chef assemble a menu, he'd nod out his approval, and the ingestion would begin. These were the only hours everyone wasn't working and could gather, so I've essentially been training since I was a baby for some twisted Olympics of insomnia and carbo-loading. Don't even get my started on the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners--there were casualties, I'm sure.

Q5: When did you start cooking?
I think I was 8, and it was Mother's Day and I made mom a scrambled egg sandwich for breakfast. By age 9, I was making Tabasco and cheese omlettes to eat while watching Saturday morning cartoons. At 10, I learned how to pimp out instant ramen noodles into big giant Momofuku-like noodle bowls. By 16, it was bacon wrapped tornadoes of beef. And, so on...

Q6: What is the most ambitious dish you made so far?
I've been moving more and more towards simplicity lately, but the last thing I remember making that took a lot of work was a Turducken. It wasn't necessarily the tastiest thing I've ever made, but it delivered a certain wow-factor that only a de-boned chicken stuffed inside of a duck stuffed inside of a turkey can bring. My ambition was tender and weighed 32 lbs when it was complete.

Q7: Men with culinary talent are hot! Are you popular with girls?
Have you used your skills as an advantage for dating?'s tough to say how much effect that cooking has had in my love life. Cooking and eating well has always been a huge part of my life, so I can't really imagine what life--dating or otherwise--would be without it. As for using cooking to my advantage with girls, I'm not sure. Although, the first conversation that I had when I met my girlfriend revolved around a whole suckling pig that I had recently roasted. I mean...I love pork! So if you find that romantic, then yes, I have used cooking to my advantage.

Q8: You said you are vacationing in Sweden right now. Did you come across any interesting local delicacy?
I think I ate every local delicacy they have in Stockholm, and I can't decide which was my favorite. The short list of great things to eat in Sweden would include: street vendor hot dogs with mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, Cronions and remoulade ; fish stew; reindeer stew; and of course, the eponymous meatballs. I was in Iceland too, where the Icelandic lamb stew and Skyr cheese-yogurt were standouts. We also had fermented shark, smoked whale, puffin, and horse, which were all interesting, but none of which I'd eat a full plate of. If you'd like to simulate the taste of putrified shark at home, buy a block of Stilton blue cheese and pee all over it. Oh, the Vikings.

Q9: What is the last thing you ate?
This is going to be boring, but I just made a giant chicken salad. I've somehow managed to only eat trace amounts of green vegetables in Sweden and Iceland, and am *much* in need of plain, simple roughage. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Q10: What are your favorite cooking shows?
The Food Network has gone completely terrible, with all the Racheal Ray/Sandra Lee horseshit, but a few shows that I still like are: old Molto Mario with Mario Batali, the F-Word with Gordon Ramsay, and No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. I also miss those old Yan Can Cook shows with Martin Yan, and the Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. All of the above are total pimps.

Q11: Where is your favorite restaurant in Williiamsburg?
Fette Sau, Luger's , and Pies 'n Thighs are my faves. They all give me what I want out of Brooklyn: meaty, beefy, attitude.

Takk fyrir, Mike!

Sign up to get the invitation for the upcoming Studiofeast.

Check out drooling images of Mike's creations.

Cookie Cake: Q&A with Tarissa Tiberti

It's becoming more and more obvious that I have a thing for food related art. I've done Q&As with Jason's Little Gift, Caroline's Diner Journal and Milton's Free Food. On top of that I am planning an interview with Studio Feast in a few weeks. Come to think of it, I remember it was Dan who first realized my particular interest in the subject matter since he seems to have the same inclination I have. I showed him THE QUERIES for the first time when he was still working at this design wasteland with me. He said to me "You'll like my friend Tarissa's work" and showed me her website. Her work looked so sweet and tasty that it immediately hit the spot.

1: Can you explain a little bit about the piece? When you see it close up the texture looks so yummy looks like powered with cocoa. What are they made of? Do they smell sweet?The "drawing" is made of all paper, doilies included. The cookies themselves are three-dimensional so they look as if they have a filling. Dusted with cocoa, I like that. Some of the paper is flocked resulting in the cocoa dusted affect. They smell freshly baked if you close your eyes and picture your grandmother's kitchen.

2: How did you start making confectionary art pieces?
It all started with frosting! That's right good old buttercream frosting. I loved the texture and began applying it on the wall as you would dry wall mud. This application sparked many ideas and the opportunities were endless.

3: You mentioned artificial sweetener in your artist statement. What's your view toward artificial sugar? There's something creepy and interesting about the fake sugar because it only satisfies mind but doesn't do anything to the body, no nutrition or calories.
Funny you should ask this. My sister and I were just talking about this as it is a constant thought of mine. I actually don't like artificial sugars, at all. That's exactly it, it is an illusion! Your mind thinks you are choosing a better alternative, yet your body craves the real thing. So you use or consume more of the artificial than the real deal. I don't think I will ever understand how diet soda can be 0 calories. It's not like it is a healthy option. Hmmm.

4: Do you have sweet tooth? Do you have cavities?
Yes I have a sweet tooth. I always love a good dessert after a meal or a bit of dark chocolate will often do the job. Cavities?? I think I have one in every tooth possible. But my last visit to the dentist I was clear and free.

5: What 's your favorite flavor for ice cream?
Coffee or Pistaschio. Of course chocolate and all its forms are always enjoyed!

6: Tell us about your sweetie.
My best-friend from grade school just had a baby girl. She is my newfound sweetie! You should see her in person.

7: How do you indulge yourself?
Food and drinks are a great way to satisfy me. That's how I usually indulge.

8: What are you wearing right now.
My p.j.s Actually, they sort of look like one of my drawings!

9: Where is your favorite tea room/coffee shop?
In Florence, Italy on Via San Gallo.

10: What's your plan for the fall?
Plan for the fall. If that isn't the question of the century. Alas, I have an answer. I hopefully will be working at a bakery on the Upper West Side. Negotiations are in the works!

Check out more of Tarissa's work at

Thanks Tarissa!

Special thanks to Dan Weiss! This Saturday he's opening a gallery called OPEN SPACE in beautiful Beacon. He's featuring the works of Michael De Feo. The Opening reception is held on September 8th 3 - 9pm.

Diner Journal: Q&A with Caroline Fidanza

I’ve always thought Diner as the epitome of a Williamsburg restaurant. The decor is effortlessly beautiful with the raw interior of a rehabbed 1920's diner. The food is comforting, simple and tasty. The atmosphere is personal, warm and local. Since its opening in the late 90's it has been a favorite place for us in the neighborhood. At the magazine rack of the Spoonbill & Sugartown bookstore, I was drawn to the yellow cover of a magazine titled Diner Journal. I flipped through the beautifully designed publication. There were many tasty recipes for food, dessert and drinks, as well as stories about local harvest and personal food episodes. The warm personal voice of the magazine made me very happy. I looked at the masthead in the hope of interviewing the editor. Later I contacted Caroline Fidanza, who is also the chef for the diner. When I asked her what dish she'd make to impress a special someone, she said "I would make traditional sauce with meatballs and sausages to go with either ziti or some nice big rigatoni". Then she added "but that's something you make out of love, not to impress". I think I found out the reason why I like Diner and Diner Journal so much.

1: Can you tell me the story behind starting the Diner Journal?
It had been an idea for a long time to do a Diner cookbook. We knew that we weren't going to get a big publishing deal and without it, it would be hard to make the time and commitment to an in-house cookbook, we also knew that we wanted creative control over the outcome. Andrew Tarlow (who with Mark Firth owns Diner, Marlow & Sons etc.) had the idea of making the cookbook into a quarterly so that it would be more manageable and we decided that it shouldn't just be about recipes, it should also be about food and food producers as well, we wanted to employ the talent at the restaurants to contribute as writers, photographers, designers. We didn't realize at the time how ambitious a project it would become but for all of the people who work on it full time it's really been a pleasure. There's a lot of anxiety of course, each time we start on a new issue we don't think we're going to make it but so far we've done it and with each issue there's so much more we want to explore.

2: What do you think is the most unexpectedly tasteful combination of food?
I don't really deal in unexpected taste combinations very well. I stick to the classics, garlic, olive oil, lemon, parsley. I think right now we are making an interesting salad of peaches, red onion and basil. Summer fruits like peaches and watermelons work surprisingly well with salty, savory flavors.

3: What is the trendy ingredient right now?
I guess I feel the same way about trendy as unexpected. Heirloom varieties are certainly trendy during these summer months but that's a good trend. Pork belly was popular last winter and meatballs this spring. We unwittingly participated in these events without realizing we were. Sometimes a good thing just has its moment but we don't go out of our way to follow trends, that would be the end of everything good.

4: What is your favorite meal your mom (or anyone in your family) made growing up?
Anything in the Italian-American genre. Macaroni with sauce, lasagna, pizza, eggplant parmesan. I did have one aunt who made amazing fried chicken and we had Greek neighbors who would invite us over for dinner and that always blew me away.

5: When and how did you discover your talent? How did you start your career as chef?
I never really cooked until I decided to go to cooking school. I made dinner for myself in college and when I first started working but I never really thought about what I was doing much. However, I have always been interested in eating and gravitated toward jobs in the food industry but both the times and I weren't geared towards a cooking career. I worked in a bakery in college and for a catering company after an attempt to work in the arts, when I realized I could go to cooking school the light bulb went on. Beyond that I got really lucky with my first cooking job, if that hadn't happened I don't know if I would have lasted. I've always been hard working and have tried to create a good working environment for others, I think that's why the restaurants have been successful in terms of my contribution. I'm a good cook but I am not blessed, I have worked with people who are and there's a difference.

6: What is your favorite publication to read?
Food publication? I don't know if I have one. I used to love Saveur and before that Cooks Illustrated but I don't feel moved by them any more. There is a publication called the Valley Table that my mother picks up for me highlighting what's going on with food and farming in the Hudson Valley which I enjoy reading. I'm sure I'm supposed to say The Art of Eating but I often find it unreadable as I do Gastronomica and the other heavy, intellectual food publications. I read the New York Times and the New Yorker.

7: What’s your best dish to impress your special person?
I suppose I would make traditional sauce with meatballs and sausages and either ziti or some nice big rigatoni. But that's something you make out of love not to impress.

8: What’s in your fridge at home right now?
Three different kinds of butter, 5 beers, a bottle of champagne, yogurt, a head of chicory, lemons, garlic, pickles, dried seaweed, chocolate from Finland, almond butter, condiments.

9: What are you wearing right now?
A tank top and my underwear. No a/c.

10: What background music do you play when you host a dinner party?
I'm not the one to set the musical mood at a dinner party. I'm too focused on the food and the hosting. I like it if someone else does that although if I don't like the music I'll quickly become the worst DJ ever.

Thank you, Caroline!

Diner Journal can be purchased at Marlow & Sons, Whole Foods and Sugartown & Spoonbill.

Bad Goods: Q&A with Matthew Lusk

When I was living in this building on Eckford Street, I used to see lots of cool garbage coming in and out. There were pickle barrels, tarps, tons of tires and weird stuff I couldn't quite figure out. They were being brought into the loft at the end of the courtyard where Matt was living. I was suspecting something good was going on in that loft.

After I moved out, I googled him and found sculptures of hipsters, thugs, good guys and bad guys that Matt made with salvaged materials and hats. I really liked those sculptures because they were humorous and utilitarian-looking. I am especially fond of the fact Matt used hats as a key item to characterize types since he's also a great hat wearer (It's great when he pairs them with red striped overalls.)

Q1: Can you explain a little bit about the work?
This show at Outrageous Look was in the form of a window display in a vernacular storefront in South Williamsburg. Taking into account the location, I decided to couch my presentation in the realm of a hat display. There are several hat stores in the immediate area. I set out by creating some simple forms, figures really, to place the hats onto. They eventually became parodies of types: a couple of hipsters with boards for bodies and nails shooting out of their faces, newspaper-chubby western Good Guy and Bad Guy with knotted rope genitalia, a dirty-shirt newsboy, a burlap feed sack thug, and a big blue plastic tarp hobgoblin with a green plastic dealer's visor.

The other window had a geometric construction in garish pink and green. Inter-tangled twin replica spice racks from the pages of Martha Stewart Living. Inverted. Being the middle of winter, I had chosen the colors and the title: Ode to Spring. A little tongue-in-cheek adoration to wistful abstraction/distraction.

In place of curtains, I used commercial perforated black rubber mats like one would find in a kitchen or behind your favorite bar.

Both window displays, I'm remembering now, were sitting on a thin carpet of fresh asphalt.

The whole effort was untitled at the time, but I refer to it as Bad Goods.

I've been working on storefront ideas for awhile now. In my last residence, on Java Street in Greenpoint, I constructed a storefront in my loft to separate my studio space from my sleeping and office quarters. I had three little group projects in that storefront and four others in the rest of the loft. That space was referred to as Weather Records, a name that I keep in use now as a picture blog without words.

Q2: I always suspected you make cool art work from witnessing a pickle barrel coming in and out of your house. Do you mainly work with found objects?
This is something I've been doing for a long time and thinking about very seriously as of late. It's hard to distinguish between the fiscal necessity of using salvaged materials, the content of past use and the ramifications of removing that use-value, and the political or ecological arguments for using recycled objects. When I think of doing something, I'm usually drawn to removal/relocation rather than outright fabrication. But on the other hand, I'm very good at crafting objects and have a lot of experience in building structures and fabricating furniture and other somewhat traditional things.

I'm afraid that what you saw was someone stealing my pickle barrel and I'm very angry about that. I'm in the market for a replacement.

Q3: Where do you get the supplies?
Recently I've been very happy with a recycled building supply warehouse in Queens. And eBay. But nothing really beats going out there and rooting around. Getting out of the neighborhood is imperative. Especially if that neighborhood is New York. Though the garbage here is usually surprisingly good. McMaster/Carr is good if you have the money, and construction supply houses are probably my go-to guys. There is always something there that is really simple, familiar, and mutable.

Q4: Who are your favorite artists at the moment?
Robert Gober. H.C.Westermann. Fischli&Weiss. Magritte. William Wegman, even the later stuff. Hans Bellmer. I think about Louise Nevelson occasionally, but maybe that's because of her first big show in awhile that's up at the Jewish Museum. Roni Horn. Felix Gonzales-Torres. Frank Stella. Mondrian. I was thinking lately about artists whom I used to like, but no longer do, and it seemed like an interesting alternative to the usual "favorites" list. Like if it were music, it's more interesting to my friends that I used to listen to a lot of ska than that I now occupy myself with the Hold Steady and Pere Ubu. I'm just saying that it's just as important to know what you hate as what you love. Just as long as there's more love going on.

Q5: What are your favorite museums?
Triple Candie. They've got more of an idea of what they're doing and how they're contributing to dialogue than just about anyone going right now. And their last show cost about twelve dollars to produce.

Q6: I often saw you wearing red striped overalls and you looked cute in them. What are you wearing today?
Red-and-white striped overalls. I found them on the trash by the L about five years ago. Neatly folded. They're the exact same kind that my friend Tyler Bush wore when he was on the cheerleading squad at Wabash College called the Sphinx Club. They wore beanies. I usually have a newsboy's cap or some other thing to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Q7: I was wondering you must be a good curator. Tell me what about the high and low of organizing art shows.
Organizing shows is great, at least how I do it. Come up with an idea. Plan to change the space you're in to carry the concept of that idea. Invite able-bodies and elastic-minded folks to make things expressly for that idea/space. Get some cards printed up and make sure the beer is cold. Simple.

I distinguish this process from curating by choosing artists based on their abilities and potential, rather than choosing specific works, and also by the absence of editing on my part. Once you're in, whatever you want to contribute is in the show. This is where it gets interesting as some people play well with others and some just don't play at all. The lows are when people who showed interest don't bother to do anything at all. I won't mention names, but they know who they are. The highs are when people totally blossom under the circumstances and do something good and out-of-the-ordinary.

Q8: Any new show coming up?
I just finished installing three new outdoor pieces at ArtOMI up in the Hudson Valley for a show curated by Max Goldfarb called Bivouac.

I'm also working on a suite of half-a-dozen group projects that will be looking at products of American identities, the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the lack of supporting evidence for the American Dream. The first two shows have their roots in the pages of The Great Gatsby and are titled Daisies and Valley of Ashes. I'm shopping them around to a few spaces that I think might be interested in hosting them.

Q9: What is your plan for summer?
Not to accidentally kill myself. Not to go completely broke more than twice. To drink a lot of water. To go fishing with my father. To make a good trip or two. To go to Hale County, Alabama. To eat well. To make some good work while nobody's watching.

Q10: Anything we should know about you?
I play left field for the Mendoza Line softball club in theWilliamsburg Softball League and I love my life.

Thanks, Matt!

Check out Matt's picture blog Weather Records

See matt's portfolio onWhite Columns and Artists Space.

Hektor: Q&A with Chloé Derderian

{graffiti} {spraycan} {laptop} {programming} {art} {robot}

Can you guess whose those tags belong to?

It's Hector, the graffiti robot.

Hektor is consist of spray can folder, two motors mounted and his brain, the laptop computers. His spray can part of the body is driven by two motors mounted at the upper corners his canvas/wall.

He has just finished a show "It's Ok to Make Mistakes" at the Riviera gallery in Williamsburg. On June 13, he produced graffities on the walls of the gallery. He diligently drew the lines making the robotic moves. He looked very humorous and charming.

Hector unfortunately is already back home in Switzerland. So I asked questions to {young} {cute} {smart} {sweet} {Williamsburg}{riviera gallery} {curator} Chloé Derderian about him and also her views on technology and her devotion for art and her gallery.

1: Can you explain about Hektor and the work made by him? Is Hektor also an art piece?
Hektor is something that needs to be seen to be believed. The robot/machine Hektor was created in collaboration with Uli Franke and Jürg Lehni in Switlerland. To create the pieces, Juerg works with a guest designer (for this show he worked with Laurenz Brunner) who makes the design in a special program that tells Hektor how to draw the lines. It is then installed within the gallery hooked to the computer and there you have it. The real magic in Hektor is as a spectator, you never know what the final piece will be as he teases you by drawing one line in the upper right corner, swings down to create a line to the lower left and so on. You really get trans-fixed by watching the story unfold. It is really about the performance as opposed to just the finished piece.

I would say that Hektor the machine is a work of art in itself. It is a one of a kind object, which took quite a bit of work and ingenuity to create.

More information can be found here:

2: Computer nerd or art nerd?
Art nerd, but I guess any nerd is cool. If a nerd means someone who is completely interested and devoted to one thing (whether it be art, computers, Star Trek, the Civil War) that is something I find admirable in a person.

3: If Hektor was an android what do you think he¹d look like?
This is an interesting question as I have a very specific connotation to the name Hektor, and I wonder if it translates the same way to the Swiss designers.

4: What do you think of ape artists, like Janey the orange utan?
I¹m not as interested in ape artist as I am with elephant artists. The fact that an ape makes art is not so surprising, since they are a close relative to humans. But the idea that an enormous animal like an elephant can hold a tiny brush in his trunk and paint a painting is amazing.

5: What¹s the moment that you hated technology?
When your computer crashes and dies and you go to the Apple store and they very nonchalantly say "There's nothing we can do". (although perhaps that is really 75% a people issue). Otherwise, I love technology and don¹t know what I would do without the internet and email.

6: How did you land on your current job? How did you start getting involved in the art world?
My position with the Riviera came out of the blue. I was curating a show at the gallery set for this July and one of the partners asked if I might be interested in managing the space. We had a few meetings and I started within
2 weeks. I got really involved in the arts in 2001 when I curated my first show, "The All-Girl Art Show" at a lounge in Greenpoint. I was the Deputy Director with a not-for-profit called s.u.n.Arts and we curated numerous shows in the NYC area from 2001-2003. After that I branched off on my own for a bit and now I'm happily at the Riviera!

7: Any galleriest /curator you adore?
I admire the works being shown at New Image in LA. I think they¹re really on target with what¹s going on with real art. Deitch Projects and Cinders
has cool shows as well. Cinder¹s has their Porch Show up right now and I keep meaning to go and see it.

8: Where is your favorite place to see art?
Honestly, my favorite place to see art is generally in a book so you can really leaf through the pages and get in to it. I often feel intimidated going to galleries. There have been times where there was a garbage can in the gallery and I wasn¹t sure if it was art - so I¹d give it a good look just in case.

Other than books I like going to Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. Last year they had a giant hairy sculpture of a Bigfoot. Our dog actually ran towards it from yards away barking thinking it was real.

9: How are you dressed today?
I am wearing a black pencil skirt, purple tank top, black patent leather flats and a gold necklace with the initial "G".

10: Anything we should know about you?
At the moment, the only thing I can think about is the show I¹m curating at the Riviera- "Tiger in a Tropical Storm". It¹s a project that has been in the works for over 6 months and I am thrilled that the opening is just around the corner. The piece that I am the most excited about is Richard Colman¹s. He will be sending along a 10 foot by 12 foot piece. Needless to
say- I'm excited!

Thanks do much Chloé! See you at the opening!

Special Thanks to Dan.

Watch Hektor making art

Check out upcoming exhibitions at the Riviera Gallery

Chole's new show "Tiger in a Tropical Storm" opens on July 12.

Tagging the width of Manhattan:
Q&A with Momo

Last November Momo tagged the width of Manhattan by using its landscape. He dripped the paint for two miles across downtown from the Hudson river to the East river. The scale of his piece is easily beating landscape art maestro's work such as Robert Smithson's Spiral Getty. For me, his piece is way better because it's transient and more substantial because it's his name, not whirly trail of rocks. So I emailed Momo for Q&A. My coworker Dan warned me that the chance of getting his answers might be slim because the guy's unpredictable... Wrong, Dan! I got his answers, Yaay! But he was still right... He hijacked my Q&A.

Milton rewrote these questions for me, to spur my beleaguered creativity -Momo

1: Did you really tag the width of Manhattan or is that just photoshopped? I also heard that there have been sitings of your line in other major metropolises?
The tag is real & it took only two nites (& 10 gallons of paint). The photoshopping took two or three months. This project was very popular.
Something similar was done in Germany this year by an artist I've never met

2: Are you gay?
MOMO sounds like HOMO but has nothing to do with my being gay.

3: Where is the most odd/cool place you tagged?
I lived in Granada Spain's Sacramonte (Sacred Hill); a warren of Gypsy caves mostly 500 years old. I painted this giant El Greco inspired piece there in the ruins that was visible from most of the city.

4: Have you got busted?
In tiny island Key West Florida, I was busted with two other friends, we're all shirtless with bleach blond hair in the mugshots, it was ridiculous.

5: EVR or Viva Radio

6: Tell us about your wife? Does she know you're gay?
My wife is fantastic, a singular inspiration, lovely and kick ass.

7: Why is wheatpasting so popular now? Are you "jumping the bandwagon?
There was a film shot in Williamsburg just last month and they installed loads of fake wheatpaste crap for urban scenery. Its really really funny!
Search "fakemoviegraffiti" at From the inside, you don't know what the general perception is- but it looks like they're onto us. I've been sticking posters since 99.

8: Tell us about the "Grey Ghost".
The "Grey Ghost" is an anti graffiti vigilante in New Orleans - he's been so aggressive he really is a graffiti minded outlaw like the rest of 'em.
Barely funded and rarely legal. I think he's a Southern Outsider Artist
type. See the story I penned here - with pics.

9: When is the last time you bought new shoes/underwear/pants?
HA! ! Yesterday I sewed one of my dwindling threadbare boxers... I've had these 5 years I'm sure, and one of em I bought used. Same with my shoes I guess. I discovered this powder in Spain that knocks down the odor. My pants cost $11 brand new so I was able to afford these just last year.

10: Why is your wife a vegetarian?
She wants to be able to kill what she eats.

11: How did you meet Milton?
We met in a special "fame" high school in North Carolina, more than half our lifetimes ago! We were a tight knit group, Smoking grass & four-wheeeling in the quarry mud, I'd get jumped in the shower singing Morrissey.

Thanks, Momo! Also very special thanks to Milton!
It¹s the best Q&A ever.

Watch the documentary of momo tagging using the width of manhattan.

Visit MOMO's world at

Free Food: Q&A with M. Carter

I secretly admired graphics of M. Carter's T-shirts when I go window shopping at Steven Alan or Spacial etc. I was curious what kind of person makes them.

I found these cool prints of food on his website last year surfing online at work. Yesterday I got so lucky to get some questions answered by him via email. His answers are so amazing. I felt like I went to stranger's attic and found really cool knickknacks.

Q1: Can you explain a little bit about the piece?
I was taking a screenprinting class a couple years back and i wanted to make it really worth my while (I was real broke) and also do something in a series that would sit well together. I have been obsessed w/ reproducing objects at lifesize for some time now and snacks & fast food lent themselves to the time and size constraints I was faced w/ as a novice printer. It was a helpful process that informed my work since then and I think they are still quite cute (my faves are the shrimps and oysters, oh and the weiner).

Q2: Where can they be purchased?
They cannot be purchased, however if someone is interested, they can contact me as I have a few sets left.

Q3: You seem to be into food since you also had the photo project of everything you ate in 2002. What are your favorite restaurants in town?
I am into food, but perhaps not as adventurous as I would like to be. I cook a lot, sort of a mixture of the american south and south of the border. I'm always on the hunt for the perfect BLT, hamburger and General Tso's chicken (authentic tacos too but have kinda given up). I ate at EGG (they started doing lunch recently) 3 times last week. On a good day, I would say their burger is the best. For BLT's go to the Stage restaurant on 2nd ave. 

Q4: Do you work out?
HAAAA. Thats a good one. Started running last year but when I met my running partner after a few beers at Turkeys, she sent me home and I haven't tried again since. Still have the shoes though. My roommate and I have a collection of bikes including a couple of tandems, I pretty much ride everywhere once the weather is warm.

Q5. What are your favorite museums and galleries?
I've really been getting into the idea of a day at the Met lately. You can go there and explore many different things, maybe you wanna see something specific, but if you have some time you always discover something unexpected. I'm really getting inspired by ancient Greek and Roman art and I need to get over there to check out the recently reopened galleries ASAP. I would say that I dont go to galleries as much as I used to. I have a lot of Artist friends and I try to stay current by picking their brains / digging their scenes.

Q6. You design the best t-shirts. Do you normally dress in T-shirts and jeans? What are you wearing today?
Been kinda broke lately so I've gifted myself the entire Spring collection. Once the weather is warm enuf, I pretty much wear corduroy board shorts and flip flops everyday. Today, I had a meeting so I'm dressed office casual: Sweet vintage blue gigham s/s western shirt w/ loud green chinos (a gift from Chris' mom) & Rainbows. 

Q7. What's your background? What's the story behind designing T-shirts?
Failed graphic designer / handyman falls in w/ a fashion crowd and dyes t-shirts in garbage cans to save money...

Q8. Any personal interests?
Right now I am feeling: Tiki culture, tourism, antique postcards, colonial islands, the UN, ropes & pulleys, nomad culture, nautical waste... I better not give it all away!

Thanks so much Milton!

For inquiries on the prints contact

Check out Milton's awesome T-shirts