As summer winds to a close Brooklyn-based duo of Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, better known as Faile, will be also closing their latest exhibition Savage/Sacred Young Minds at the Brooklyn Museum on October 4th. A retrospective of sorts, the exhibition features six new paintings, as well as Faile’s interactive Temple and Deluxx Fluxx arcade installations, both continuing to evolve with two new marble sculptures, eight new pinball machines and five new video games incorporated into the immersive installations. 1xRUN photographer Sal Rodriguez caught up with the Brooklyn duo for a portrait and to discuss their latest museum exhibition before it comes to a close. Read on for photos from the exhibit and an exclusive interview with Faile…
1xRUN: Tell us a bit about Savage/Sacred Young Minds, what are some of the immediate things you’d like to highlight about this show?
Faile: We’ve always been inspired by New York and Brooklyn. We are always observing and documenting the environment around us, from the typography on signs and stores, the flyers on light poles, the way imagery breaks down over time in posters and adverts. We are always paying attention to this. Being young we lived in more suburban areas in the Southwest, so many of the things we were inspired by then was found in things we collected. Skateboard/heavy metal magazines, baseball cards, comic books, posters, stickers, video games…these were the things we were looking at, and much of this inspired the way we look at the world today and the way we create in our work.
The Deluxx Fluxx arcade stemmed from a conversation with our collaborator in that project, Bast. We were discussing ideas for an upcoming show we were doing together, which started as a discussion about installations of found furniture, and led to pinball machines, and ultimately an arcade. We grew up going to arcades. Playing in them, winning and losing in them and just being absorbed by the space. That is something we feel is lost today and something we wanted to create anew.
The two works together really start to explore this idea of iconography mixed with ideas of high and low art. How revered icons can start in the most sacred of spaces from churches and temples as paintings and sculptures, and then trickle down to live as candles and stickers in gas stations, but still convey the same kind of power and reverence beyond their material and setting.
1x: How many new works were created for this show?
Faile: We created six new paintings, two new marble sculptures, eight new pinball machines and five new video games. The black light room is always evolving as we create new images.
1x: What strides do you feel you’ve made with these latest works?
Faile: It was nice for us to return to the “rip painting series” it’s been almost six years since we’ve focused on those. The process is quite a bit different from the wood paintings we do, much more of a journey.
Whenever we can bring the Faile icons to life through sculpture that too is a special moment. Doing the Fantasy Island sculpture of the skateboard girl was a great example of realizing this piece from a black and white image we created, then to a stencil on the street, to a video game and now a 7ft tall marble sculpture. That kind of progression is something we’re really interested in exploring.
1x: What (if anything) separates these latest works from your previous series?
Faile: I would say this show builds on previous works and continues to push our practice. The show by it’s nature is somewhat retrospective as it’s showing two substantial works that both happened to originate in 2010. While the Temple and Deluxx Fluxx weren’t originally intended to be shown together, there becomes a great dialogue between the two about sacred spaces and iconography in high and low art.
1x: Tell us a little bit about why scale and an immersive experience is so important to you?
Faile: We are excited about monuments and spaces that can be transformative. Like you’re entering another world and then when you leave it, it stays with you. It’s nice for the audience to be a part of an artwork. Where the show comes alive by their participation. As an artist it’s great to give that experience to people.
1x: Who are some not so apparent influences that viewers might not expect to hear when first looking at your work?
Faile: Luca Della Robbia has been a great influence when it comes to the Temple and the large ceramics. Probably a good example too of the way we take inspiration from the use of religious icons. Much of our work pulls from the things that inspire us. We’re always collecting little bits and pieces of the past. We like this idea of finding obscure ephemera from our culture and other cultures, chopping them up and blending them together make a new tapestry that addresses our contemporary world.
1x: What else is on the docket for the rest of the year for Faile?
Faile: We recently unveiled a new large sculpture in Times Square that will be up until September 14th. The piece is called Wishing On You, which is a large-scale hand carved wooden prayer wheel that explores contemporary patterns of consumption, desire and myth-making. It’s nice to do larger public works. Artworks that still push the idea of our street art roots and builds on that to create a connection between the art and the city and our place in it.
Portrait of Faile by 1xRUN Contributing Photographer Sal Rodriguez – read 1xRUN’s recent interview with Sal Rodriguez in the 1xNews Interviews section, see his photos documenting Jesus Benitez’s Detroit residency in the 1xNews Streets section
Additional photos courtesy of Faile.