We had the good fortune of connecting with Ray Chang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ray, what matters most to you?
Lately it’s been: “That it’s ok to always be learning,” even when you think you have a strong understanding about something. My practice in kinetic sculpture and animation rely heavily in trial and error. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I try to use these times as a moment of reflection. I’ve made many things that have jammed, shattered, or collapsed on itself and all I was able to do was watch it happen helplessly right in front of my eyes. How it breaks my spirit whenever that happens and at the moment I would feel like I wasted so much time and energy on something so worthless. I think everyone can relate to these situations in some respect, and I am someone who subscribes to the ideal that one can find a means to transform these regrettable events into lessons of improvement. Not only for my sculptures, but for myself as well. Admittedly, there are plenty of times where I don’t know what to make of a failure; unable to see any silver lining. I think that’s ok too, though it drives me crazy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It is my inquisitive nature that informs my interdisciplinary art-making practice. From film cameras to old wind-up robots, the analog world holds a particular magic for me that stems from the spirit of inventing and innovation. I approach this world from both technical and aesthetic perspectives, with the goal of creating works that can show another side to seeing things. Through the process of tinkering with devices of my own design, I am able to ask questions to myself and provide a means to explore concepts I have difficulty in grasping. I’m most definitely am still growing and trying to get out of my comfort zone to create more meaningful connections with other artists. I’ve learned that, for myself, there was no sense in not networking more and getting myself out there also. I think these type of relationships can build a healthier sense of community which can only lead to better things. I also am a fan of instruction and teaching. I believe my work is intrinsically pedagogical since I do not feel the need to hide any of the mechanisms I employ in my sculptures. If anything, I would want people to see my work for exactly what it is and perhaps even gain some insight how some illusions are created.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Jurassic Technology, when they reopen after things are safer. I think it’s fun to visit without any knowledge of what it is. You should also check Automata LA’s site to see if they happen to have any events going on. They always have such great artists, exhibitions, and performances there. Sometimes they even have a window exhibition of works. And if you’re in that area, I recommend ‘Lao Tao Taiwanese Street Food’ down the street. Giant Robot is also fun to visit. They have a gallery and store on the same street. I bought a couple of cool prints and pins there before. There are some great Asian restaurants on that street also. I wish I knew more cool things to do in LA, but I haven’t spent much time exploring that much of the city yet. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First off, I have to thank Yoon su Lee for giving me a Shoutout in the first place. She is not only multitalented, professional, someone I truly look up to, but also she is genuinely kind. Then I would have to give a Shoutout to Jungmin Cha, who I also look up to and I think her animation work is something to behold. Both are people I admire greatly and I’m lucky to know them.