The Big Bang Interview
Big Bang is a concept that has grown out of an Art All Night collaboration by two local and successful artists, Brian Gonnella and Matt Gondek. They created a piece that juxtaposed pop culture icons with their signature styles of art and illustration. Matt’s a talented artist and illustrator, with many of his credits appearing in the music world through his work with various bands. Brian’s regular shows at Remedy, among other gallery showings have helped grow his local fan base, and the suggestive themes he raises through the worlds he creates in his work are as satirical as they are intelligent. Both of these dudes are beasts in local scene and make a living off of their work as full-time artists. We had a chance to ask them a few questions about their upcoming opening reception for BIG BANG! – which takes place this Friday, August 1 at The Shop from 7-10PM.
Kymbo Slice: How did the two of you meet and end up deciding to do a show together?
Matt: Brian and I met at the first RAW. We kept in touch on Twitter after that but really didn’t talk too much. Eventually, we both started going to this weekly drawing session at Armand’s Bar and got the idea to the do live-painting together for Art All Night 17. The piece we did there got such a great reception that it inspired the concept for this show. We originally toyed with the idea of approaching a gallery with this idea for this show, but ultimately decided to DIY the whole thing and put it on ourselves.
Kymbo Slice: You have been spending a lot of time collaborating this summer – are you BFFs now?
Brian: Yep. I love him. Couldn’t imagine my life without him. He completes me.
Kymbo Slice What do you like most about each other’s art?
Brian: I think he’s a really good illustrator and his work is super stylized.
Matt: Where most artists in the area (myself included) are content with just creating something that looks good, Brian goes the extra mile to craft stories and entire worlds that revolve around his art. He’s even illustrating a comic book currently that tells the backstory to some of his paintings. I think that’s pretty neat. He also crams WAY too much stuff in each of his paintings so there’s always a lot to look at.
Kymbo Slice: With so many pop culture icons to choose from as subjects, why did you select the ones you did for the show and can you explain the juxtaposition of one or two pieces?
Brian: Truthfully, there is no real reason or meaning for the character selection in the end. We set “themes” as guidelines, which mostly dictate the content, but not always. Its kind of an even mix of the planned and spontaneous.
Check out their opening party this Friday, with jams from their pals Tracksploitation. Their artwork will be on display at the venue through August 31. You can follow their Instagram hash tag #BigBangPGH to keep up on their latest creations.