Part of our artist portfolio from the Oh La La Land issue
The Panik Collective are a team of painters, sculptors, musicians, mathematicians, and curators who divide their time amongst multiple exhibition projects and public works. Their chosen medium changes to best accommodate the message, which ranges from academic (see “Chicken Heart”—a photographic and video piece produced for—but ultimately censored from—presentation at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana) to aloof (“Marina Abramović is Not Barbara Kruger” on beer coasters). With varied venues, projects, and mediums (including silver gelatin photographs, audio and video manipulation, and dot matrix printing on found objects), Panik Collective’s central themes of sexual and gender politics collide, making it difficult to determine if there is an intentional subversion inherent to the collective’s manifesto (if there is one). We took a tri-continental four-way call with several members of the collective as translated by Matt W. Kennedy
Can you describe your studio process?
The geographical distance between the various artists involved in The Panik Collective requires multiple studios across the globe, and lots of emails, phone calls, texts, and air travel. Once the seeds for an idea are germinated, tasks are assigned to the artist best suited to that particular medium. In the mash-ups of the High Fidelity and Lyrics series, member Misty combines and alters member Panik MK’s selections to produce images that are released as editions. The pictograms from the Panik Diaries were drawn by member Bree as interpretations of Panik MK’s text. In the Dancing About Architecture series, abstract versions of iconic imagery were produced—first digitally by Panik MK who uploaded the files for collective members in China, who transformed the abstracted digital images into paintings. All of the albums and songs referenced in the various series are semi-autobiographical for Panik MK, so it is important to him to lose control via this art-centric game of telephone. Inevitably, the works are case studies in translated iconography.
If you had never become artists, what do you think you would be doing now?
Art is so multi-faceted that we don’t believe a single discipline can encapsulate one’s entire life. No matter what we do, we try to do it artfully–whether preparing a meal, brewing a pot of tea, or making a playlist, there is a thought process and a mindset. Some of us make jewelry, some of us work anonymously for commercial design firms, and some of us are biologists. There is an art to every aspect of life.
What spiritual beliefs, if any do you subscribe to? Crystals? Energy healing? Chakras?
We have each been exposed to dogma, some Christian, some Buddhist, some more esoteric, and we have developed an appreciation for the pomp and circumstance of different aspects of each, but none of us are particularly superstitious. It is important to connect with nature as often as possible, which may not be something that comes across necessarily via our work, but it is something we strongly believe.
What are the draws of being a working artist in Los Angeles?
If we are to believe the hype, Los Angeles is now the center of the art world. As the entertainment center of the universe, it is the post-war dream come to twisted fruition. For that reason, everybody wants to be here, and so it is becoming expensive to live here. If art builds neighborhoods, and neighborhood building leads to gentrification, and gentrification evicts the artists, it will cease to be an important art hub.