Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Robots Are Coming!!

That's right, you heard me correctly, the robots are coming with a few spaceships thrown in as well. No, I haven't lost the plot or been watching too many sci-fi programs. I am in fact talking about a superbly talented and eccentric artist who's work I happened to see recently. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Mano Cris loves robots with a passion and has created some startlingly beautiful art pieces around this theme.

We spoke to Mano and asked him exactly why he idolised these metal beast's so much. "I have always had a love of robots. In the 2nd grade I came in second in a Halloween costume party (I lost by one vote, thinking it was unfair to vote for myself), I was dressed like a robot: cardboard boxes spray painted metallic silver, shoe boxes for feet and mesh-wiring over cut out slits for the face. For a kid that never felt quite at ease in elementary school being a robot for a day rocked. I never got into collecting, but adored the aesthetic."

His work is often humorous and each piece has an intriguing and sometimes bizarre story attached to it. Mano's work is heavily influenced by old science fictions paperback covers of the 20's and 30's, he told us "Once I had rooms full of paperbacks and walls covered in framed sci-fi pulp originals it was only a matter of time before robots started popping up in all of my work. Robots interwoven with classic children's themes in the Wizlow World kid's books I illustrated soon developed into robot themed paintings and cartoons strips. It was not a conscious decision by any means. I woke up one day and there they were, starring back at me with their perplexed sense of self, asking as much of me as I had of them. Who are we? What are we?"

He continued "If humans are a fatherless, motherless, species searching for their place in the universe then we have definitely instilled our questioning insecurity into the mythos of the robot. I still remember reading Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and being overwrought by the feeling of abandonment and estrangement that the monster feels. Society has become that way it seems, segmented, cold and indifferent in search of the father, in search of a meaning and an understanding. The robot is a microcosmic mirror held up to our modern world and a damn cool looking one at that. From the cult poster for Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" to Futurama's "Bender" the robot for me has always been an intriguingly beautiful and often frightening reflection of ourselves."

As far as the human Mano Cris goes (in his own words) he would of loved to have been a robot (for a little while at least). His basic program runs as follows: born in Greece to a Greek father (architect) and a French mother (interior designer) in 1975 both of which held art in the highest esteem. Has published books for children in Greece (he writes and illustrates); designed, opened and owned bars in New York City for a while (but considers that an interesting misstep at best); is married to Aimee (the coolest chick in the world) and has two daughters aged three and a half and one and a half (happy thoughts).

We simply adore his work, its stunning to look at, complex like an electronics schematic, yet with an air of simplicity and with each piece comes a rich back story from an equally rich imagination. Mano humanises the robots themselves and we cant help but love them.

To see more of Mano's work pop down to his Website

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