• Melnguyen-lead

    Introducing: The desk of Mel Win

Graphic Design

Introducing... The witty sculptural works and digital experiments of Mel Win

Posted by James Cartwright,

Continuing our new feature of young creative types is Minneapolis resident Mel Win (Nguyen) a multidisciplinary artist with an incredibly engaging portfolio.

Mel’s work is wonderfully ambitious in its scope, encompassing a broad range of disciplines, from graphic design and illustration to fine art installation and experiential objects. She shifts comfortably from reimagined book covers to witty 3D objects all the while offering food for thought by virtue of considered visual interplay between elements (see Grids and Frames). She also segues happily between the physical and digital realms, always utilising the qualities inherent to her medium of choice; her 3D objects are overtly tactile, while her digital work makes constant reference to the nuances of photoshop and the glitchy pixellation of a malfunctioning web-browser.

All in all this is one incredibly talented young practitioner. But enough background from us, here’s what she has to say for herself.

  • 7

    Introducing: Mel Win, Grids/Frames

  • 9

    Introducing: Mel Win, Grids/Frames

  • 13

    Introducing: Mel Win, Grids/Frames

Where do you work?

I am currently interning at Hot Sundae (Nicole Killian and Amelia Irwin). Otherwise I’ll be in my personal studio making work.

How does your working day start?

I always start with drowsy email and blog reading with tea. I bike to Nicole’s on internship days since she works pretty close to me, and our day usually starts with greeting her ferret. Biking and seeing her ferret always wakes me right up.

How do you work and how has that changed?

In my personal studio process I’m usually triggered by materials that I want to use, or when ideas of subverting a tool (such as a scanner) or format (such as a book) come to mind. I collect objects and write lots of lists, so I have a library of materials and ideas to work from later. When I start a project, I rationalise my decisions through some writing and make a ‘written mood board’. Any steps after this are different for each project, since I jump around media.  Instead of declaring that my process has changed, I will say that the more I make, the more ‘finished’ experiments I have collected that will contribute to new ones. I see it as a series of connected trials. I am new, learning, and just getting started.

Would you intern for yourself?

No. I benefit most from gathering other opinions and observing other processes, so I need to be around other people every now and then. I experiment plenty alone, but again – I really like collecting. 

Where would we find you when you’re not at work?

Eating ice cream, drinking bubble tea, or staring at bunnies somewhere in Minneapolis. There are usually two bunnies hanging out in front of my apartment that I enjoy.

  • Melnguyen-8

    Introducing: Mel Win, Reflection Shanty (with Jenny Bookler, Katy Vonk, Eric Frye, and Brian Nigus)

  • Melnguyen-10

    Introducing: Mel Win, Reflection Shanty (with Jenny Bookler, Katy Vonk, Eric Frye, and Brian Nigus)

  • Melnguyen-9

    Introducing: Mel Win, Reflection Shanty (with Jenny Bookler, Katy Vonk, Eric Frye, and Brian Nigus)

  • Melnguyen-7

    Introducing: Mel Win, Reflection Shanty Process (with Jenny Bookler, Katy Vonk, Eric Frye, and Brian Nigus)

  • Melnguyen-3

    Introducing: Mel Win, Rethink

  • Melnguyen-1

    Introducing: Mel Win, Rethink (process)

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Karinhagen-itsnicethat-main

    Pottery has had a bit of a bad rep until recently when people have slowly begun to realise that it’s FUCKING BADDASS. The pottery world is creaking under the weight of the amount of thrill-seeking clay-spinners popping up all over the place making vessels for cool people to put their cacti and fennel seeds in, and so we thought we’d highlight a few people who are taking the clay world by storm. Think for a minute, if you will, how few kilns there are on this earth, and how many universities have in recent years completely shut down their ceramics department due to lack of funding and demand. Then get your head around how these guys manage to create such brilliant work at such an astonishing rate while still keeping up their day jobs. Seeing as pottery is well trendy right now, I thought I’d run down a list of my personal favourite pot-heads out there.

  2. Jr-newyorktimes-itsnicethat-list

    It’s always a joy when two creative forces we like collide and produce something that harnesses their collective talents. We’re huge fans of the team at The New York Times Magazine (so much so we interviewed design director Gail Bichler for the new issue of our Printed Pages magazine) and we love the work of JR, so the coming-together of the two was right up our street.

  3. List

    Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like after the great Old Testament flood? What bizarre events might have followed such a freak occurrence in weather? Me neither. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. But illustrator Samuel Branton has been fixating on the idea, imagining the strange fusion of land and sea that a tumultuous rise in water levels might effect. He’s gone one step further and illustrated these fictional scenarios in miniature, taking this Regency medium and making it weird. Witness crabs beating up a wild boar, monkeys tossing an elephant in the air and a sad old sperm whale incapacitated in a tree. And Deluge is available in book form too!

  4. Aakash-itsnicethat-list

    When we last wrote about Aakash Nihalani we described his practice as a series of interventions, and now that he has graduated from playful street art compositions to full blown technological mind-blowers, that vaguery seems even more apt. His newest piece sees him create a series of interactive installations which respond to the movements of the subject stood in front of them. The video demonstrates it better than I could ever hope to, so wrap your eyes around it and try to keep your jaw off the floor. Aakash is entering a new age, people; just imagine the possibilities!

  5. Ines-longevial-itsnicethat-list

    Inès Longevial is an art director and illustrator based in Paris, whose beautiful paintings of intertwined bodies are likely to have you looking twice. She breaks up the human figure into segments in a fashion Picasso himself would admire, rendering different parts in contrasting but muted colour palettes to disguise the physicality of her subjects. The effect is quite beguiling; hands play across hips and colour distinctions hint at the seams of clothes, but nothing is clear cut. It’s a geometric play on anatomy, and it has clients including fashion brand Amélie Pichard and sportswear giants Nike coming back for more.

  6. Hannahwaldron-itsnicethat-list

    “I wish I knew how to weave,” I found myself sighing longingly while clicking through Hannah Waldron’s portfolio. The UK-based multi-disciplinary artist and designer has transitioned seamlessly from grid-based image-making to create works in textile form since completing an MFA in Textiles at Konstfack, Sweden, and it looks like she’s well at home in the medium. Map Tapestries is a series of woven works inspired by various city scenes – Kreuzberg, NYC and Venice, for example – in bright colours, evocative shapes and simple geometric forms, and it’s wonderful.

  7. Jen-stark-whirl-side-int-10

    If it isn’t broke then there’s absolutely no need to even think about fixing it, as artist Jen Stark is fully aware, and there’s nothing broken about her geometric papercut sculptures. The LA-based artist has been making such work for literally as long as It’s Nice That has been running – here’s the first time we ever posted about her, back in 2007 – and although her work continues to grow in intricacy, she’s stayed true to her roots. These days her sculptures are made more and more often inside huge, unassuming black and white boxes, recreating the feeling that you’re a child about to unbundle a giant parcel of joy on Christmas morning, and they’re still as impressive as they were eight years ago.

  8. Everybody-razzle-dazzle-1-photo-mark-mcnulty-int-list

    Sir Peter Blake has designed this fabulous dazzle ship, a Mersey Ferry that will carry commuter passengers for the next two years. Named Everybody Razzle Dazzle, Sir Peter says it’s his “largest artwork to date,” and that he was “honoured and excited to have been asked to design a dazzle image for the iconic Mersey Ferry.”

  9. Boyocollage-int-list

    Some budding young design talents fresh out of university might harbour resentment about being thrust into a new job at a design studio as a “photocopier boy” (his words), but Patrick Waugh is not one of them. Instead he took full advantage of the rich archive at his disposal in his earliest and most junior jobs to make copies. Lots of them. And then took a scalpel and some masking tape to them, and transformed them into something altogether more exciting.

  10. Stephenabela-int-main

    At first, Stephen Abela’s images are all glorious bronzed bodies, sun-drenched beaches and hazy holiday reveries. But beneath the heat, there’s something else at play too, which feels a little more disquieting. In that oft-cited Edward Hopper thing: even in the densely populated scenes there feels like there’s a loneliness. Even the speech bubbles are lonely – in fact, they’re vacant – suggesting that for all the beautiful scenery, the folk that populate it aren’t quite sure what to say or what to do. There’s a joy there, for sure, but the great thing about Stephen’s work is this complexity, and the sense that all isn’t necessarily as it seems.

  11. Int-list-carsten-holler-pic

    Merging the fun of the playground with the beauty and cerebral qualities of art, a slide will transport visitors to the Hayward Gallery entrance this summer thanks to the forthcoming Carsten Höller show, Decision.

  12. Traceyemin-mybed-int-

    Sometimes I don’t really “get” modern art, but I get Tracey Emin’s My Bed. She displayed it as a piece of art in 1998 after practically living in it for about a month following a bad breakup. Back then she was rake-thin and impish with an appetite for booze and fags, in that odd age where you’re left to fend for yourself but are not perhaps quite ready.

  13. Serenmorganjones-int-list

    With the centenary of British women receiving the partial vote coming up shortly, artist Seren Morgan Jones decided it was time to focus on the Welsh suffragists who helped to make it happen. “I think it is important to show that there is more to Wales and its history than coal mining, rugby and men,” she explains, “and to draw people’s attention to the fact Welsh women were so involved in the fight for women’s rights.”