Wood in Holywood

interview with Mel Kadel



RK> Mel, how did you come to your simple but extraordinary drawing style?

MK> Over the years, my work has become more focussed. I have a much better understanding of what I see in my head to what comes out on the paper. It’s not always how I imagine it, but I am more confident and picky in the choices I make while creating a drawing. Reoccurring themes tie the work together on a larger scale and help build a style that has evolved over a long time. Simplicity is attractive to me and knowing when to stop is essential.

RK> I guess your images are essencial for you to communicate with viewers? To what extent you’re interested in your viewer?

MK> I remember years ago claiming that the viewer had no relevance to my work, and at some point I realized that I was completely wrong. The viewer has very much to do with it. It’s about connecting to people and pulling them in. I want there to be an intimate connection between what I draw, and the person looking at it.

RK> Is it important for you to be interested in the production of the other artists? Why?

MK> 15 years ago, nobody really knew what each other were doing. Funny to think back and remember how hard it was to show people your own work or be exposed to other artists. But, as we all know, that has all changed and we live in a time were everything is a click away and shared online. What I love about that is how much it’s brought artists together. It’s like we’re all in business for ourselves, but inspiring one another constantly. It’s pretty amazing.

RK> Don’t you think that “art is dead”? Or is this “artist’s death”?

MK> Art is a reflection of our lives, times, and trends. It can be disappointing to say the least, but no, it is not dead. It is smothered and squeezed, while trying to extract meaning out of it. It’s criticized, adorned and scoffed at, all the while giving it more life. Barthes believed that art should interrogate the world rather than explain it. But I believe that to some, an explanation is needed. He also states that a book is useless and doesn’t exist without the reader. So, as long as art is made that makes people look and wonder, and lights sparks in their brains, it will live.

RK> Do you remember your first fairy tale story you’ve ever heard? Which is your favorite?

MK> I don’t remember any fairy tales that left an impact on me. But, I was totally into Shel Silverstein when I was young.  He is still one of my favorite people that carried a pen. He wrote and illustrated the most bizarre short stories, at least for my little 7 year old eyes. The language was so colorful; everything rhymed.  But, the stories and drawings were very curious and strange. It was my first window into humor and art wrapped up into one.

RK> They say human brain is a good invention. Why?

MK> The brain can evolve, learn, change, and adapt. And, as far as I’ve heard, there is more unknown about the human brain, than what is known.  How mysterious it is. If only it had an off switch.

? Richard Kitta
: Mel Kadel

see more in ENTER / No. 3