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NohJColey Talks About The Deception of Independence

Posted on May 9, 2013

Artist Talks About His New 4 Panels Across from Woodward Gallery

Today we’re checking in with artist NohJColey, whose work we’ve featured many times and who continues to surprise viewers on the street with his distinctive style, well considered narratives and somewhat cryptic symbolism. It is great to watch an artist grow, and NohJ gets better because he’s continuously stretching his mind and practicing his skills. He tells us this new gig  crept up on him so he worked faster than usual, and the results are a looser flow, and a confident one. We asked him to talk about this newly finished piece on the street in the Lower East Side, what he’s been up to, and what are those ducks doing?

Brooklyn Street Art: We haven’t been seeing a lot of new work on the street from you. What have you been working on?
NohJColey: After my solo show I began working a job to pay bills and just didn’t really have time to produce work for the street. These days I’m a tattoo apprentice among other things. But I actually put up new work in the street on a daily basis. It may be a different pseudonym, but it’s happening everyday.

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is this the first time you have been asked to do the four panels for Woodward?
NohJColey: Yeah, this is the first time Woodward gallery approached me to do the four panels. I’ve always wanted to do them and it finally came to fruition.

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the name of the piece?
NohJColey: The piece is entitled “Oh, The Deception of Independence”

 

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you tell us the back story of this new painted collage?
NohJColey: The piece is essential about the illusion of being self-sufficient. The main figure is married to the woman who he must ask for permission to go skydiving. To me, the act of skydiving enables an individual to feel as “free” as one can. The fact that the main figure has to have permission to feel “free” is an illusion inside of an illusion. The ducks in the piece are owned by the married couple. They roam around a one acre back yard, but they are not permitted to leave the property. Oh, The Deception of Independence…

 

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: The male figure is arched and seemingly swimming or flying. Did you have a live model for it?
NohJColey: No, I didn’t use a live model. Live models don’t always do a great job. Sometimes I’ll spend hours perusing through magazines until I get a pose or a hand gesture that I then manipulate.

Brooklyn Street Art: In much the same way as pieces you have pasted on boards on construction sites, the character of this wood really adds to the overall character of the piece. Did you like the result?
NohJColey: The aged wood effect looked okay though I’d rather use found materials any day of week. There is just something about an object that has genuine history as opposed to some store bought item that was altered to look like the actual thing.

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Often in your sculptures there is motion and movement – here too you are indicating the movement of the woman’s arm through replicating and pivoting the limb. Have you ever done a video piece, or wanted to?
NohJColey: I did some video pieces in college and started one about two years ago, but that stuff is so time consuming that I had to put it aside to complete other projects.

Brooklyn Street Art: Are those mallard ducks?
NohJColey: The flying duck is. The second duck was a goose that I turned into a mallard duck.

 

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: If you were to symbolize yourself in one of your pieces as an animal, which one would you chose?
NohJColey: Most likely a liger because they’re a hybrid and I love the idea of mixing multiple things up to form one figure. And they never really stop growing.

Brooklyn Street Art: Which is harder for you when creating a piece. Starting it or finishing it?
NohJColey: Starting a piece is usually extremely difficult for me because I’m constantly attempting to create something that has never been seen before. I over think things and can spend a couple of days gathering reference material without having a clue how exactly to use it.

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey’s “Oh, Deception of Independence” is currently on view at the Woodward Gallery Project Space. Click here for more information.

 

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