Visual Dialogues III, December 2015

Visual Dialogue 3

It was a Sunday, slightly rainy and drizzly but nothing too out of character for Taipei. Walking through the Taiwan Air Force base to the Red Room always filled me with a sense of electricity. I hope I’m not late and I can’t wait to get there.

Making my way up the stone stairs surrounded by the white walls, I see photos. I would stop and admire them but I’m being dragged inside by my need to see the space and what’s been done to it this month.

I open the door and am met with an energy that is new. There are photos that capture times that I have not yet experienced and places foreign to me. Arranged in a manner that are at once calculated yet relaxed. Marveling at the subject matter and some of the artistic style of the photographer I wander into the main part of the room when I see them.

The umbrellas, not strewn across the floor or laid in a nice pile by the entrance, but hung as if though they were red lanterns at a night market in Taipei. All with different designs and markings. They were the production of another artist. Both artists had come together to use the space to present their creativity and I was brought to smiles when I saw what they had done.

The space had an energy that was interjected by the art chosen by these two creative beings. A beautiful photo of the Taipei cityscape hung in the corner surrounded by photos just as entrancing. Renderings of the artist perspective of Taipei turned into quirky comic books sat as a welcome to guests of this event.

Voices hummed and people were nibbling on some food provided by Sababa. But everything quieted down as the artist took their place in the front of the room to talk about their process. Both Alex and Bara had complimentary vibrations. They smiled and joked about their process but you could see that they took their craft seriously. Yet in the space you could see that the ego was not such a big part of the process.

Sharing and letting the world experience what you have seen or your perspective seemed to be the ultimate goal for this visual dialogue. Two artists, one that realized the beauty in the world with his camera and the other that created her own with a paints, pens and tools… Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

23317692060_3c64266728_zDaniel Black

3 January 2016, Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫 IV

RRVD4-A3-Jan2016-prPlease join these two artists for their Visual Dialogue
邀您進人以下兩位藝術家的視覺對畫

TWO TIGERS 兩隻老虎

CONSTANCE WOODS & TSO-CHI CHEN

Paintings
OPENING RECEPTION 開幕酒會 January 3, 2016 3:00 pm ~ 7:00 pm

意外的遷徙 (兩隻老虎)
-靈魂、身心、生活-
我們不能輕易放棄伸出手
談論
看見
聽見

Unintentional migrants of
The soul, the heart and life.
We cannot give up, we learn to speak
Begin to see always listening,

Our shared experiences of art and motherhood have
made our friendship strong. There have been many
changes in the world and Taiwan over the last 20 years,
we have changed too.

Two Tigers

两只老虎,
两只老虎,
跑得快,
跑得快,
一只没有眼睛,
一只没有尾巴,
真奇怪,
真奇怪。

Two Tigers
Two Tigers
Run so fast
Run so fast
One has no eyes
One has no tail
So strange
So strange


Free Entry for all.

Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫
between people, spaces and ideas
Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.
紅房會邀請兩位分別來自西洋及東方的藝術家來展出他們的作品,讓藝術氣息繚繞在紅房國際村的樑柱之間。
在每月的第一個週日,邀請您們一同享受創意與空間的對談。


GALLERY HOURS
January 3 – 30, 2016
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays 3pm-7pm
TAF LIBRARY 2F  No. 177, Sec.1, Jianguo S. Rd, Taipei
空軍總部「圖書館」2樓 台北市大安區建國南路一段177號

Meet the artist: Interview with Ted Pigott

Photos from Ted’s current exhibition at the Red Room
Visual Dialogue 2

I burst through the doors of The Toasteria, out of breath and late. As I approached the stairs a man in black appeared. “Are you looking for Ted? He’s upstairs,” he said gesturing past staggered rows of drawings. Ted Pigott had been drawing over his lunchbreak at the Toasteria for a year when the owner of the restaurant asked him to display his drawings of the scenery and the food. The drawings in question featured a variety of styles from point work, to watercolor, black and white ink sketches, to colored pencil. Each drawing was encompassed by a simple, matte black frame. Though the frame stands out from the white walls of the Toasteria, it doesn’t dominate the space nor does it obscure the art. Like the artist, it eschews ostentation and exhibits a genuine, relaxed feel.

toasteriaWhile some artists may define their main inspiration as another artist or as a lofty philosophy about what art should be, Ted’s philosophy is often delivered through a series of simple mantras: Draw what you see. Share what you draw. Every day is better when you draw. As long as he has his pen and pad of paper, he’s happy. In fact, his Facebook, which is covered with portraits of strangers, flowers, scenery, food, is a testament to his philosophy.

As I opened up the menu, Ted leaned over to recommend the three cheese omelet. “It’s my favorite. That’s why I drew it twice.” He chuckled. Sure enough, the wall behind us featured two omelets: one in color, the other in black and white. I looked back at the drawings for a moment. “Did you ever envision, when you were young, that this would be your life?” I asked him. He confessed he hadn’t. In fact, he hadn’t drawn for over two decades when he picked up his pen again in 2014.
It all started with a single line drawn over his lunchbreak. He had a sketchbook and, as the server placed a coffee mug in front of him, he decided to pick up his pen and try to draw it. “It probably wasn’t that good,” he told me. “But at least I did something that day for myself.” What began as a hobby soon became his full time job when he began sharing his work on Facebook. He speaks highly of the internet which has allowed him to share his art and aided his getting noticed by the Toasteria and the Red Room.

He has since largely overcome the fear and excuses he made for himself before that year. When I asked how an artist might overcome such a fear he replied “It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get it on paper. Draw that first line.” After that, it’s just honing your craft. Throughout the video he maintained that anyone could become an artist if they wanted it enough. The way to do so is simple: Do what you love, love what you do, the rest comes from diligent practice of your craft.
Perhaps most important to Ted is his passion and his independence. He espouses the importance of following your own perspective and maintaining your own artistic integrity. He claims the internet is a large part of what has allowed him to sustain that independence. “The world is my studio, the internet my gallery,” he told me toward the end of the interview. With a sketchbook and a pen he’s happy wherever he goes, as long as he can draw what he’s passionate about.
If you’re looking to speak with Ted about his art, you might find him at a Red Room event, with his notebook and pens out. His drawings of the Red Room community, as well as other things he likes, are currently featured at the Red Room for the month of November. If you’d like to view Ted Pigott’s art, you can visit the Red Room where his art will be displayed next to JJ Chen’s for Red Room’s second installment in the Visual Dialogues series. You can also hear more about their art and their involvement with the Red Room at their Visual Dialogue Vernissage on November 18th.
You can read the full interview below or visit Ted’s Facebook page to see more of his art.

Did you ever envision, when you were young, that this would be your life?

No, I never did. That’s why I stopped drawing for twenty some years. I was working full time as a consultant nearby here, so I was traveling around and very busy, but then one day I thought “Hey I need to do something for me.” Before I’d work at my desk; I’d have meetings; I’d read Bloomberg business week. I thought I needed a bit of a change. So, number one, I thought I had to get out of the office. I thought I’m going to walk around and see the neighborhoods. Number two, I wanted to find good food and a good place to sit for the full hour—not like a dumpling place, not a noodle shop, not like a café. And the third thing was I wanted to do something I wanted to do. [I didn’t want to] read work e-mails, or do copy writing.
So I had a sketchbook and I decided that “hey, maybe I should try to draw this coffee cup”. So I just tried to draw it, and it probably wasn’t that good. Then my food came so I closed the book and I ate. It probably wasn’t that good but at least I did something that day for myself. You spend so much time doing things for somebody else that it’s rare you find time to do something for yourself. Anyone can do it. You can work on a play. You can draw. You can do whatever, but you can take that one hour and give it to yourself. [You should] not just sit and watch the news, or trying to get ahead of work. It’s up to each person.

When did you start deciding you wanted to exhibit your work? It seems like something that started to decompress, something to do for you. When did it become something more than that?

ted portraitsWell, I started sharing my work on Facebook. Share your work. That’s another philosophy of mine. Social media is the best way to do that. Before all my stuff would just be in my sketchbook and you would never see it. You might see it and think “Oh, he’s got a sketchbook.” But you would never see it unless I showed it to you. Now if you like my page, if you are my friend on Facebook you know I draw a lot. It’s a great way to share. Also, if I show you my sketchbook now you might feel, out of politeness, “Oh, that’s good” or they don’t know what to say but they see it on Facebook by themselves, they might think “Hey I’ll give it a like”. I think the internet to day is very visual. If you write a story, a fictional story, not a lot of people are going to read it. They might think: I’m not going to read this, it’s too long, but a picture of flowers? ‘Like’. I like that. So it might make someone’s day a little better.

It connects with people a little quicker than written word? It’s more accessible?

I think so. I think because it’s so visual and it’s a picture. It’s not a photograph, it’s different. You’ve taken some time to draw something so it has a more personal feel to it. You draw something and people like to look at it. [Photographs are still useful though—especially with camera phones.] Before I had to scan it, but phones are so good I can just take pictures of my drawing and upload them. That’s how you share you work and [phones] are a very valuable tool to help you share.

Another mantra is “Draw what you see”. Do you mean that literally? Do you feel there’s so much to see that it’s better to render ‘real life’?

That can be taken quite a few ways. That could be taken literally, or it could be like what you draw what you imagine. Draw what you see. The first part of the mantra is just draw. Every day you gotta draw –draw, draw, draw. Then what you see is the things that you, as an individual, see. I see these flowers, probably in a different way than you see these flowers. I gotta draw what I see. It can be imaginary, I’m not saying everything’s gotta be realistic but it has to be from your perspective. My perspective is probably different than yours.

[Your perspective is different] in more ways than one.

Yeah, exactly, the things I see are different. You live in Zhongli and I live in Taipei. I’m a man and you’re a woman. I see things differently than you. I’m interested in these flowers, MRT, beer, what I see what I ride around in Taipei.
I don’t draw a lot of temples. I don’t go to a lot of temples [because] that’s not what I see. You have to draw your passion. That’s another one of my mantras: Draw what you love, love what you draw. You gotta love what you draw. You have to draw what makes you excited. This [three cheese omelet] I like a lot. Beer, I like a lot. Pizza. These are things I like. These are things that make me excited, make me want to share. I’m not forced to draw something.

You don’t force yourself to draw things you aren’t inspired by.

Yeah. I think it’s possible to draw things you aren’t inspired by but I don’t think it has that same feel or magic. That’s what an illustrator has to do. They have to draw pieces they don’t want to draw. I’m not interested in technically possible. I think something that really moves people has to come from a place of passion.

When you first started you said your drawings probably weren’t that good. I feel a lot of people, especially beginners, they tend not to get past that stage, the ‘It’s not good stage’. How were you able to push past that? Were you able to do it because you told yourself it should be about you, about relaxing and de-stressing? How did you get yourself in the mindset to continue drawing? Then, when you decided to pursue it in a more serious way, that is, in a way that would allow for exhibitions, how did you transition from it being more personal, and private to public? Did you change your mindset at all?

That’s a tough question because I think it’s a real paradox. You care about what people think, but you also have to not care what people think. You know, you put stuff on the internet; you put it out there; you share your work. You have to just be strong enough to put it out there. People are going to criticize it. They’re going to take it in ways you didn’t think [about]. They’re going to make fun of it—all that kind of stuff. But who cares? You can’t care. That’s another one of my mantras: Don’t think. Just draw. Don’t think about what they’re saying. Who cares what they’re saying? Don’t think about what they might say about it. Draw it. Make it. Get it out there and then post it. If they like it [then] they like it. If they don’t then you still drew it. You can’t take that positive or negative feedback too seriously. It’s kind of just noise. You’re going to do it anyway. If you really love it. I would draw even if I couldn’t share it. It helps to get feedback, to know people are seeing it but I’d still do it even if I couldn’t share it.

Of course it’s nice to get validation.

Of course it is, but you can’t let that control you. “I think I know what people want to see,” that’s where you get into trouble. A lot of people are suggesting I publish a book [because it’s popular to do so]. You know, maybe what’s popular is not really my passion right now. Maybe I could, but I don’t know about now. You have to do what you like.

So, maybe, in the future you might do so?

Yeah, maybe, I mean I’m open to anything.

You’re not concerned about the future. You’re just enjoying the present.

Yeah, maybe, maybe [I’m] not enjoying but just doing. [I’m] sort of, like, thinking: don’t think, just draw. You have to draw every day. That’s just me. It could be you gotta sing every day, you gotta draw every day. You gotta make something every day. You have to do it for you.
I think a lot of us just sit back and we watch five season of Breaking Bad or we gotta get caught up on Homeland. There are so many great shows but, maybe, you should do it. You have to just do it—create something.
I don’t know. There’s room for both. There’s a balance. You can get some inspiration from shows, they’re very well done, but someone else made those shows. Most of us just sit and watch them. Let’s all go and make something. I’m really passionate about that. I think you have to make it yourself.

I read the Facebook post you wrote at the end of 2014 and I think it’s really interesting to see how far you’ve come from “I’m afraid” to “I’m okay with making mistakes” to “I’m just going to do what I feel is right.” It seems like 2014 was a pivotal year of learning and discovery for you. Do you keep all of your drawings? Do you even keep those that become more a lesson than a final sketch? Is there such a thing as final sketch? (Perhaps it’s when you’ve stopped being interested in the subject matter– if that ever happens?)

I do keep all of my drawings.
I think a famous artist once said no piece of art (or novel or whatever) is ever finished–it’s just abandoned. And sometimes you may return to them later, just to look at them again or to try to learn something from them or even to add something new.
In any case, I do think 2014 was a big year in my life, when it some to learning and discovery, as you mentioned. I still feel as if I’m learning every day, though, and I still feel there’s so much left to learn.

And now you have an exhibition here. How did that happen?

Well the owner saw it on Facebook and he really liked it. He’s an artist himself, he’s a musician. He really appreciates the passion I put in. He contacted me and asked if I would like to exhibit. I selected sixteen different drawings. Over the course of a year I sat in different places and drew then I brought them all together and we picked the ones we wanted to show. He was really nice to give me free reign to decide what I wanted to show.
That’s why I like the internet. Before you had to go to gallery owners and beg them. You had to beg them “Please, please show my work.” Now, you can just post it on the internet. It doesn’t have to go viral immediately. It doesn’t have to get a million views, but you can build an audience. The world is my studio, the internet my gallery.

I’m now looking at your website and I see this picture of the Toasteria.

Yes! It’s the outside of the Toasteria. All the drawings I did for this exhibition were done here over the course of a year or so. So this is the place I would come to draw– here and a few other places—and I’d sit here and draw as much as I could. In September of last year I left my job and drew full time, freelance, and did some freelance writing and editing. Mostly my whole thing is just to draw I try to make myself my top priority. It’s easy as a freelancer to take case you don’t want to do, but if you do that a few years later you’re going to have a lot of drawings but nothing for you.
I try to limit that as much as possible so I can draw for myself.

It seems you really value your independence, and you follow through on your passion.

I’m very lucky. I feel blessed to be doing what I love. You know, other people might not be so lucky. They might need expensive equipment, a studio. All I need is a sketchbook and a pen. That’s all I need and I’m happy.

Leah List

6 December 2015, Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫 III

RRVD3-Dec-PCard-invite_Page_1Please join these two artists for their Visual Dialogue
邀您進人以下兩位藝術家的視覺對畫
ALE BARA & ALEX HOUGHTON
Illustration. Painting. Graphic Design. Photography 插圖 繪畫 平面設計 攝影
OPENING RECEPTION 開幕酒會 December 6, 2015 3:00 pm ~ 7:00 pm

For six years, Red Room has been growing and changing and staying the same. This month’s features artists, Ale Bara and Alex Houghton, are Red Roomers. Both artists are showcasing works inspired from their Taiwan experience. The Arts are for everyone, and Red Room is a platform for everyone to share their art.
六年來,紅房不斷的成長及蛻變。12月份紅房「藝術對畫」所推出的二位藝術家同時也是紅房人的ALE BARA及ALEX HOUGHTON。其所展出的各種創作,靈感皆來自於在台灣生活的各種體驗與經歷。藝術欣賞適於所有人,而紅房也樂於提供此平台,讓藝術家們能與所有人分享他們的創作。

Free Entry for all.


SPECIAL!
Book-sTaiwan Photo Book Launch

Shift in Focus, a collection of photographs and stories from traveling around Taiwan.


Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫
between people, spaces and ideas
Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.
紅房會邀請兩位分別來自西洋及東方的藝術家來展出他們的作品,讓藝術氣息繚繞在紅房國際村的樑柱之間。
在每月的第一個週日,邀請您們一同享受創意與空間的對談。


GALLERY HOURS
December 6 ~ January 3, 2016
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays 3pm-7pm
TAF LIBRARY 2F  No. 177, Sec.1, Jianguo S. Rd, Taipei
空軍總部「圖書館」2樓 台北市大安區建國南路一段177號

18 November 2015, Vernissage

Vernissage
ˌvɛːnɪˈsɑːʒ/
noun
A private view of paintings before public exhibition.

Red Room invites you to join us for an intimate evening with this month’s Visual Dialogue artists: Ted Pigott and Jean-Jacques Chen.We will be taken on a visual journey of these artists’ works, through curated viewings of animation, illustrations, and sketches.

For six years, Red Room has been growing and changing and staying the same. This month’s featured artists, JJ Chen and Ted Pigott, are Red Roomers. Their sketches of Red Room events, watercolors, drawings, and animation embody the Red Room identity. The Arts are for everyone, and Red Room is a platform for everyone to share their art.

六年來,紅房不斷的成長及蛻變。11月份紅房「藝術對畫」所推出的二位藝術家為JJ Chen及Ted Pigott。匯集其在紅房歷年活動中的速寫,體現出紅房的特色並涵蓋其他水彩,素描和動畫等作品。藝術欣賞適於所有人,而紅房也樂於提供此平台,讓藝術家們能與所有人分享他們的創作。

Follow this link to view photos from the opening of Visual Dialogues II
Monthly artist exhibition series:

Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫
Between people, spaces, and ideas. Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.
紅房會邀請兩位分別來自西洋及東方的藝術家來展出他們的作品,讓藝術氣息繚繞在紅房國際村的樑柱之間。
在每月的第一個週日,邀請您們一同享受創意與空間的對談。

Free Entry for all to appreciate their passionate artwork display!
免費入場,歡迎大家欣賞熱情的藝術欣賞

Usual gallery timings:
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
From 3pm – 7pm
or email us for an appointment [email protected]

1 November 2015, Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫 II

RRVD2-Nov-2015Ted Pigott and JJ Chen
Animation. Illustration. Sketches 動畫 插圖 素描
Please join these two artists for their Visual Dialogue Red Room Gallery November 1 – December 5, 2015
邀您進入以下兩位藝術家的視覺對畫
OPENING RECEPTION 開幕酒會 November 1 2015 3:00 pm ~ 7:00 pm

For six years, Red Room has been growing and changing and staying the same. This month’s featured artists, JJ Chen and Ted Pigott, are Red Roomers. Their sketches of Red Room events, watercolors, drawings, and animation embody the Red Room identity. The Arts are for everyone, and Red Room is a platform for everyone to share their art.
六年來,紅房不斷的成長及蛻變。11月份紅房「藝術對畫」所推出的二位藝術家為JJ Chen及Ted Pigott。匯集其在紅房歷年活動中的速寫,體現出紅房的特色並涵蓋其他水彩,素描和動畫等作品。藝術欣賞適於所有人,而紅房也樂於提供此平台,讓藝術家們能與所有人分享他們的創作。


Ted Pigott is from Northwest Indiana, just outside of Chicago, in the American Midwest. After graduating cum laude from DePauw University with a degree in English Composition, he lived in New York City, traveled throughout Europe, and worked and traveled in several parts of Asia, including China, Tibet, and India.

He is now based in Taipei, a city he has grown to love during his eighteen years here. These days, when he’s not exploring Taipei’s back alleys and leafy lanes on his bicycle, he can be found in the city’s cafés and restaurants, eating and drawing, especially at lunchtime.

As an artist, he believes these things are true: Draw what you see. Draw what you love, and love what you draw. Share your work. Don’t think—just draw. Every day is better when you draw.


JJ Chen is a Taiwanese animation director who was born in France and grew up in Belgium – where he studied animation directing before moving back to Taiwan in late 2007. Since then, he’s been alternating between animations for music videos and commercials, working on concept art, storyboards and post production for Taiwanese animated TV series and feature films, and animation work on independent videogames. He also used to draw a lot of sketches of various people to document his daily life and commutes whenever he had time.

As a director of animated shorts, he’s covered pretty much all the phases of production, and is a well-rounded visual storyteller. As such, he also participated in the past 2 years’ Tainan 39H and Taipei 48H Film Challenges, twice as an actor, and twice as director.

He’s been working for the past 2 years on a Chinese smartphone video game company in Taipei on a game that will hit the Apple Store and Android Market in the next coming months, and is now taking a well-deserved break.

In parallel, since last year, he is thinking more and more about switching to photography, which has always been his other passion, and is now replacing his sketchings on his daily life documenting.


Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫
between people, spaces and ideas
Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.
紅房會邀請兩位分別來自西洋及東方的藝術家來展出他們的作品,讓藝術氣息繚繞在紅房國際村的樑柱之間。
在每月的第一個週日,邀請您們一同享受創意與空間的對談。

Gallery Timings: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm to 7pm.

Contact [email protected]

Photos from Visual Dialogues I can be viewed here

4 October 2015, Visual Dialogues 中西對畫

RRVD 0ct 20152

Red Room presents the first of a series of Visual Dialogues
紅房為您獻上「中西對畫」之首次系列展出。

October 4th opening, featuring
房耀忠 and Charles Haines開幕日期十月四號
邀請藝術家房耀忠Charles Haines

fang and charles

Visual Dialogues 中西對畫
between people, spaces and ideas
Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.
紅房會邀請兩位分別來自西洋及東方的藝術家來展出他們的作品,讓藝術氣息繚繞在紅房國際村的樑柱之間。
在每月的第一個週日,邀請您們一同享受創意與空間的對談。

Bio and artist statement for charles at this link.

Bio and artist statement for 房耀忠 at this link.