On November 6, 2017, StandardVision launched its latest site-specific public art video BB L’Orange, created by interdisciplinary artist Milan del Vecchio. The piece represents another new, innovative, and original film in the SV Presents series; an art initiative showcasing the work of creative visual artists working within the community. Milan sat down with us to talk about becoming an artist, where BB L’Orange came from, and plastic pastel metropolises.
Can you tell us a bit about BB L’Orange and the inspiration behind it?
BB L’Orange is an multidimensional dreamscape; lush with whimsical oddities and nonsensical play. From one portal to the next, variations of floating misfits and talking heads exchange banter, perhaps questioning the very senselessness they have been subjected to.
Honestly, and completely narcissistically, the inspiration for BB L’Orange came from previous work of my own. I started BB L’Orange with the idea in mind that I have this arsenal full of unfinished doodles which have barely seen the light of day – I owe these half-life characters finished and animated bodies. In this way, contained chaos inspired me. Recycling inspired me. Trying to make sense and find patterns in unusual criteria was a fun challenge. I hope that whether the viewer chooses to latch onto objects as meaningful metaphors, or they simply enjoy the ride as a no-mind spectator, that minute of their lives will have been spent full of quirky humorous movement and color.
How would you describe your process?
To expand on the previous answer, I basically reached into a bag of these drawings I had gathered over the years, picked a few of my favorites, and decided that they were going to relate to each other. Those were my limitations: a grab bag full of seemingly unrelated old drawings and an intent to doctor them up a bit, and make them relate to each other in the span of one minute. The use of collaged newspaper was (again) inspired by a one-hit-wonder collage experiment I had done in the past. As BB L’Orange continued to take shape, the newspaper texture ended up informing a lot of the piece. The texture itself visually blended the palette together, and the words in the articles created additional context to possible narratives between portals.
I suppose the process I took with BB L’Orange is typical in how I’ve begun many of my recent projects. I usually go into a project with a vague concept of what I want to happen. I like to leave breathing room for the unexpected to reveal itself. If I do ever have a concrete idea to begin with, the end product tends to feel somewhat contrived. I like to play jazz.
When did you decide to pursue art? Was it a conscious decision or did it find you?
Making art is probably the most conscious decision I’ve ever made – so much that it’s probably had adverse affects on the rest of my not-as-conscious responsibilities. At the same time, I suppose art found me, as making art has been ingrained in my daily practice from a very young age because my mother introduced me to it. She went to school for painting, isn’t what you’d call a “professional artist,” but from the work I’ve seen of hers, mostly buried in storage, she’s nothing short of extremely talented. She taught me from a young age to draw, how to see faces and characters in objects, how to make art out of discarded things. I remember when I was eight years old we made a “City of Lids” together. It was a sculpture we constructed out of her saved collection of hotel toiletry lids and juice bottle tops all hot glued together to create this awe-inspiring plastic pastel metropolis. It was probably around that time that I decided that making art was to be a priority for the rest of my life.
You have a unique style that blends analogue mediums like pencil, collage, and charcoal with digital painting and animation – how did you come to blend all of these together?
I am keenly attracted to things that are multi layered and have thick gritty textures. Contrast is very exciting to me, even with personalities. When I meet someone new, the shiny “newness” is just their surface. People are really just onions: layers and layers – an amalgamation of different experiences in time. Both visually and conceptually, I really enjoy viewing the peeled-away layers from a distance, all together, one on top of the other, and jagged, rather than one at a time.
Aside from simply being attracted to the aesthetic, I’ve experimented with a variety of mediums most likely because I get bored easily. Trying a new medium is a bump – a quick fix to getting reenergized and excited about making and staring at new work. Alas, this is probably why I have yet to make a series of one consistent body of work.
You also have experience with textile and costume design, album art, concept art, installations… do you have a favorite medium?
They are all my favorite, for designated amounts of time! Variety most certainly is the spice of my life. If I had to pick one to focus on for a longer amount of time, to master, it would probably be… oh my goodness, I can’t make that decision. Though the challenge would be to my benefit, I could certainly improve my craft in all of these mediums.
What artists inspire you?
de Kooning, Kandinsky, Picasso, Dali, Lane Smith, Eric Carl, Michèle Hermann-DelVecchio, Rei Kawakubo, John Galliano, Ashley Wood, David Mack, Tim Burton, Ralph Steadman, Alicia Martin Lopez, Ai WeiWei, and hundreds more.
Are you working on any additional cool projects or pieces right now?
I did just start somewhat of an actual series of sumi-e ink paintings on large (90”h) hand made silk scrolls. So far the indefinite concept I’m working around is underwater themed. I’m enjoying this medium because the nature of the ink lends well in revealing images in a most graceful fashion. It’s a much more sophisticated medium than I’m used to working with – it’s making me feel a bit classier than usual.