Interview Series: Chad Muska

Chad Muska sparked an intense underground art scene in Hollywood this past summer with the opening of pop-up exhibition and creative hub FLAT425. Shortly after moving back to LA, Chad resurrected his New York studio in a large empty space on Fairfax. Breaking down years worth of accumulated, unsorted pieces and materials, he started experimenting with a fresh new eye, reinventing his style and challenging his technique without any real commercial pressure or artistic boundaries besides a 3-month ticking clock.

Photo by 2wenty

And so, “Deconstructionism” came alive… The exhibition at FLAT425 evolved from a simple wall showcase to a complex, immersive installation featuring crystals, taxidermy, projections, neons, rope, shoes and weapons that came alive at sundown. The space and the artwork were constantly changing; what he did one night was almost systematically destroyed the following day.

Photo by Aurelien Levitan

Soon enough, the flat became a collective playground for painting, partying, talking, filming, flirting, skating, acting crazy and letting your inner artist shine. A true expressionist, he was obsessed with providing a unique experience to his guests and collaborators. Chad is blessed > cursed with a profound sensitivity that inevitably carries him to extremes – watching The Muska frantically create and orchestrate chaos was just as powerful as the final installation itself.

Photo by Brad Elterman

New Image Art‘s founder Marsea Goldberg has always had a flair for nurturing creative skaters (Lister, Ed & Diana Tempelton, Neckface, etc.), and most importantly she recognizes real work. Three pieces from “Deconstructionism” will be shown again as part of the “3 cowboys, 2 drugs and a skater” show opening on January 5th at New Image Art. Enjoy our exclusive Q&A.

Photo by 2wenty

Q&A

LF: What have you been up to since the flat closed? 

CM: Just really catching up on life and getting back into the flow of things without the space. I put everything I had in me during the time there and it’s been a hard transition getting back to reality and finding out what’s next. I’m still in the process of it. But besides that, I have been shooting pictures more and designing some clothing. It has been fun and it’s good to stir up the brain every once in a while and try to do something completely different; break routine.

LF: What do you miss about having your own space to create & show work?

CM: The bigger the space, the bigger the idea. When I am in a wide open space I feel as if my mind is more clear and I can produce more. So coming back into my house and not having the open space has been a bit uninspiring, but it has also forced me to concentrate on other things that got put aside while I was working at the flat. I also really miss the aspect of bringing all these creative people together in an environment that is inspiring and open to creative ideas and execution. I don’t want to compete with anybody – I just want to bring people together and further the visions I have in my head and bring like minded forces together.

Photo by Brad Elterman

LF: What inspires most right now?

CM: Just being creative in anyway possible. Everyday is different for me, yet always connected. I enjoy seeing things and then reacting to them in an action that becomes a creation. But I can say that beautiful women and continuous wandering of various city streets will always be my true inspiration for everything that I do.

LF: Tell me about your recent shoot for ‘Everyone’s A Photographer’ at Lomography

CM: I was asked by Laura Austin to contribute to her group photoshow at the Lomography store and I said yes! I was really exited about the idea of shooting on film because I have been shooting only digital for the past 5 years and was up for the challenge! I shot a test roll with the Diana f+ with Kelley Ash and was so hyped on the results that I ended up using them for the show. I had a blast shooting on film and have continued the process!

LF: How did you transition from Graffiti to creating fine art?

CM: Art has always been in my life through Graffiti and later with graphic design, but when I got injured skateboarding I was forced to stay inside more and needed an outlet to fill the void of not being able to skate… so I started making art and everything else is just a blur from there and has taken on a life of its own. I feel like I am not even in control anymore I just go and start doing and things happen.

LF: So you feel that skateboarding has molded your work?

CM: I think skateboarding plays a part of every aspect of my life. Skateboarders look at the world in a way that nobody else does and I think that they approach art in a different way too. For me cement is an important part of my work and equally important in my life. Without cement skateboarding would not be possible, street art and cities would not exist. I love the ruff texture of cement, it soothes me. As skateboarding does too.

Photo by Aurelien Levitan.

LF: What’s your favorite shoe you ever designed? Describe your creative process when it comes to shoe design.

CM: The original Skytop is my favorite shoe that I have designed to date. I work as a team with designer Josh Brubaker. I come to him with a concept and other inspirational items like shoes, fabrics and pictures. Then we get a preliminary sketch done and critique it until we are satisfied. We send it off to the factory and get a sample back, make any needed corrections then go to production.

LF: Is there anything you can tell me about the Skytop 4?

CM: Just that it is going to be amazing and it is going to change the shoe game. Again.

LF: Describe your style in 5 words or less.

CM: Me Me Me Me Me.

Photo by Alexis Gross.

LF: Favorite fashion designer (s) / label right now?

CM: Damir Doma, Rick Owens, Boris Bidjan Saberi

LF: Does fashion influence your art? Or is it the other way around?

CM: Fashion and art go hand in hand… Whatever way you put it. I like fashionable art.

LF: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

CM: Everyday is a different story. But the only reoccurring thing is the thought that I am grateful to be waking up and able to continue living the life that I am living.

Deconstructionism at FLAT425 featured highly textured contemporary pieces created out of Chad Muska’s household and artistic relics. After having repeatedly blasted the same words and images on the streets for years, the two-dimensional aspect of graffiti art was not stimulating Muska anymore. “No matter how many layers of spray paint you put on a brick wall, it’s always going to be flat.” Out of boredom, the artist soon began to experiment with resin-heavy textures, manipulating and distorting imagery to make room for more intense abstractionist and expressionist gestures.

The resulting artworks incorporate traditional materials with cement, silkscreen cutouts, broken mirror, plastic, pvc, jewelry and five years worth of shredded bills and various communication bits dumped on canvas and soaked in resin. “Decode the message,” Muska challenges. The exhibition consists of 18 mixed media pieces, varying in size from 36 x 48” to 48 x 96,” as well as additional installation pieces.

LF: If you could give women a piece of dating advice, what would it be?

CM: Be honest and be yourself. Don’t try to change him.

LF: What about for men?

CM: Be honest and be yourself. Let go of your ego.

LF: What’s on your playlist?

CM: Different everyday… But listening to – James / Hymn from a Village right now.

LF: How fast do you live?

Those that know me know… I will never stop until I am dead. That is the only thing that can stop me. Bring it on!

Photos by The Girl Habit

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