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POW Chats: A Conversation with "Pixel Hearts" Curator, Chogrin

chogrin pixel hearts

In celebration of the upcoming video game-centered PIXEL HEARTS exhibition taking place at Gallery 1988 (WEST) this Friday, we chat with curator and mastermind behind the event, illustrator and designer, Chogrin.

POW had the absolute delight of providing over 100 artists with pixel heart-shaped panels for the exhibition, and as expected, the outcome is too great, definitely something you have to see. This is one of the coolest exhibitions we've been able to be a part of stylistically, so we're super excited. Catch a sneak peak of the work here.  And as promised, learn more about Chogrin and get hella nostalgic over 80s and 90s video game greatness, here.

1. Hey Chogrin. Tell me a little about your creative background; when did you begin drawing?

I've been drawing all my life. When I was about 12, I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue professionally and as a career. My creative background consists of everything I grew up with...From toys, children's books, comics, animated shows, video games, 80s & 90s movies, to the artwork on Trapper Keepers. My current style of drawing is a mixture of all these things, but also about 84% inspired by the works E.C. Segar, Ub Iwerks, and Osamu Tezuka.

3. Who are a few more of your favorite artists/creative influences?

So many people. I'd say artists such as Mike Mignola, Akira Toriyama, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Picasso, and Oswaldo Guayasamin. My creative influences have been Ub Iwerks, Osamu Tezuka, Jorge Gutierrez, Guillermo del Toro, Walt Disney and many more.

2. Can you tell me about your connection to video games? Do you remember your first console for instance?

I clearly remember my first console being the NES and the games I remember playing the most were Circus Charlie, Ninja Turtles, and Super Mario Bros. But it wasn't until the Super Nintendo that I really remember and absorbed the worlds, characters, and stories behind games like Super Mario World, which is what my piece is paying tribute to. In a way, video games grew up along with my generation.

 

4. Tell me about your upcoming group exhibition, PIXEL HEARTS; how did the overall idea come about?

I've seen a lot of art shows where artists paint on a specific shaped canvas and have always thought that a "PIXEL HEART" canvas was a great idea to do a video game, pop-culture art event. I'm pretty sure this is the first art show to feature this kind of unique canvas, which I'm pretty excited about.

5. How did you go about curating the art with the artists? What kind of directions or parameters were they asked to work within?

I have a specific group of artists that I work with on all my shows, but in each show I also try to bring some new artists that I haven't worked with and that I admire. One of the exciting things from these shows is to meet new artists and make new connections worldwide. For this show 100+ artists from around the world are paying tribute to video game culture in their own artistic interpretation. You will see artwork of anything video game related. EXAMPLES: The Power Glove, any video game console, game cartridges, etc. The show will be a mix of digital and traditional art. Giving artists the pixel heart canvas has led to some beautiful and unique art pieces that I can't wait for everyone to see. All I can say is that If you love video game pop-culture this is the art show event you've been looking for!

6. What other projects do you have on your plate as 2016 continues to unfold?

PIXEL HEARTS will be my only art show for 2016, and I don't know if I plan on doing anymore after that. If a good opportunity presents itself, I might do another one, but for right now I'm focusing more on my own artwork and other personal projects I've been wanting to take on. All in all, my whole experience in curating group art shows for the last 6 years has been very rewarding and I can't wait to embark on my next adventure!