Sep 27

"Seeing and communicating": Isaac Lin gives the inside scoop on his latest mural

by: Carly Rapaport-Stein

In between painting his vibrant and playful new mural at Swanson Walk, Isaac Tin Wei Lin took a break to chat with me about art, muralism, and South Philadelphia. Read on to hear more from Isaac, and then check out the mural yourself THIS Friday at our Mural Arts Month Kickoff party!

Carly: Tell me a little about your artistic style.

Isaac: My artistic style is doodling.

Carly: What artists influence you, and why?

Isaac: A lot of different kinds of artists influence me. From cave paintings to Tibetan thanka paintings, and artists Josef Albers, Alfred Jensen, Keiichi Tanaami, Bada Shanren, Shigeru Mizuki, Barry McGee, Clare Rojas, Stephanie Syjuco, Trudy Benson, Keith Haring, Kerry James Marshall, Stuart Davis, Philip Guston, John Divola, Bill Taylor, Sheila Hicks, and Agnes Martin. I like these artists for the kind of people they are and the quality and kind of work they produce.

Carly: What draws you to the medium of murals?

Isaac: I like the large scale and the wide variety of viewers.  

Carly: Have you felt the impact of having so many murals in Philadelphia? Is there an impact on the creative community?  

Isaac: I appreciate the fact that Philadelphia has a Mural Arts program that employs artists and gives them an opportunity to work in a public space. The amount and quality of murals that we have here in Philadelphia is something I notice more after traveling to other cities. I am grateful to contribute to Mural Arts and to them for allowing me to affect the Philadelphia landscape.

 

 

  • Instruction Sight (installation), September 2016. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Instruction Sight (installation), September 2016. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Instruction Sight (installation), September 2016. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Carly: Do you have any thoughts about this project here at Swanson Walk? Could you share your inspiration for the design?

Isaac: I live in South Philly so I am happy to have Mural Arts pay attention to this part of the city. It’s an interesting area mostly populated by large box retail stores. I am curious to hear people’s reactions to murals juxtaposed with Target, Marshalls, RiteAid, etc.   

The title for my mural is Instruction Sight. My work deals with issues of obfuscation, camouflage, the individual in relation to the environment, and obliteration through repetition and meditation. I achieve this through stylized mark making and constraining my color choices. I tend to use primary and secondary colors to symbolize elements and basic building blocks. I like to imagine what existed at the very beginning and what will remain in the end.  

I like to imagine what existed at the very beginning and what will remain in the end.

- Isaac Tin Wei Lin

For this mural, my design is based on a previous painting, Primary Center. I kept the same theme of looking and seeing but truncated the design to fit this wall. The black lines and white spaces represent connections and pathways between three distinct realms – red, blue, and yellow. The primary colors are used to symbolize particular outlooks and perspectives. I hope that people will be open to more than one way of seeing and communicating.

Carly: And finally, what upcoming projects are you excited about?

Isaac: My wife and I recently bought a house. I am excited about finishing up our kitchen and beginning renovations on the upstairs bedrooms. I am hoping to move my studio in the near future and looking forward to a group show at Fleisher Ollman next year.

Carly: Thanks so much, Isaac!

 

Be sure to visit Isaac’s new work, Instruction Sight, this Friday during the Mural Arts Month Kickoff Party, and while you’re there, take a look at the dynamic new murals by megawatt artists Steve Powers, Peter Ferrari, and Joe Boruchow.

Last updated: Sep 28, 2016

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