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Art Thu Mar 25 2010

Fresh Meat

charliebanner.jpgMeet Charlie Megna. He is one of the multitudes of artists who have studios in the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park, but he's one of the scarce few who are always there. He got his BFA at Lewis University, and now he spends his days at work at Genesis Art Supply and his nights painting like a madman.

Right now he's preoccupied with painting bricks. Not the mortar, as most of us would draw, but the bricks themselves. This way, he has to randomly pick and choose which bricks should go where-- an activity he described as cathartic as he painted them, and I watched, in his studio yesterday. He likes making the rapid, random decisions of placement. "They represent choices," he said to me.

chaliebuilding.jpg

a new painting of Megna's, not yet titled

In addition to bricks themselves, his work reflects an interest in architectural structure in general. He traces the periphery of buildings, vans, shacks and gas pumps in veins of black acrylic, daintily dragged across the canvas to create plasticky three dimensional drawings that he urges his viewers to touch. His style reflects an innovative curiosity in the viscosity of paint and its ability to be manipulated for various uses. The paint is applied in spatters, washes, strings, dots and prints-- always with an intense amount of concentration and no shortage of general fiddling around.

Megna's artistic influences are deeply drudged in street-art and skate-art culture. A die-hard skater himself, Megna is sponsored by RVCA and seems to regard many of the other RVCA artists-- like Ed Templeton and Kelsey Brookes-- as mentors whom he simply hasn't yet met. Instead of imitating the West Coast aesthetic of the RVCA artists, though, his work is distinctly Midwestern, both in quality of light and line-- even his popular tie-dyed "Fuck Indiana" t-shirt.

charlieshirt.jpg

On first Fridays, stop by his studio, Nighthouse Gallery, which he shares with Katie Arford, Liana Feletto, and Erin Hauer in the Flat Iron Arts building (1579 N. Milwaukee). He just painted the walls and is in the process of turning the studio into a proper gallery, with curated shows. The first one will be a cat-themed show called Pussy Galore in June-- look out for that.

In the meantime check out his paintings online or at Untitled and People Lounge, where they will remain up into the foreseeable future.

chaliestudio.jpg

Megna's studio pre-makover, photo courtesy of the artist

 
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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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