'I think your friends are men's rights activists' / Jacqueline Meng
We asked Jacqueline Meng a few questions about her art. Jacquie is a Canberra-based artist who has a knack for mixing sarcastic one-liners with pop-arty visuals.
The old pillars of a social order that have been disrupted by the internet, science, feminism, social media…are the target of her witty imagination. Explosive, disruptive and self-deprecatingly aware of the shortcomings in the behaviour of those close to us and beyond, it’s really refreshing to see the chaotic flux of ideas and opinions be grounded by her art and her sharp sense of humour.
First up, could you give us a bit of a bit more info on how you go about your work.
My work investigates why certain visual content has power to be recognised or feed information to the modern person. I’m interested in putting together images and patterns which for me, have strong connections to western popular culture and the media, as well as recurring symbols and images in history- such as religious iconography, musical references, animals, and film tropes. its formation is quite spontaneous in the sense that the imagery goes into my work is heavily dependent on what I am consuming at the time , or whoever is around me and speaking to me about certain things as I am painting, which can be quite funny sometimes.
References to your Chinese identity shore up alongside call-outs for shitty toxic masculinity. Is the composition process a stream-of-consciousness way of combining these different ideas or something different?
I think it's usually quite spontaneous but obviously because these are central parts of my identity/who i consider myself to be/what i value at the moment. I don't take my compositions very seriously and they almost always turn out different to what I expect at the beginning, probably because if something is bothering me at the time that i am painting (e.g. dealing with gross boys being toxic in their masculinity) then that is just what goes on the painting. I don't believe in a linear way of reading visual art or anything having a particular narrative; its nice to just present people with a bunch of information that is somewhat relevant to me.
How do people tend to react to your art?
Most people's reaction to my art is quite positive, probably because the people who view my art (on social media or in person) are usually of the same age as me, constantly surrounded by the images and phrases I use in my paintings. I think its because my use of colour and choice of subject matter is heavily circulated in this time of social media and digital culture. Often people react by interpreting my work as 'kitsch' which is true, but sometimes people will remark at how they prefer when i do things more realistically and 'serious' which i have in the past, but i guess i dont really value that opinion much.
Which artists have inspired you heaps?
Juan Davila, Liu XiaoDong, Dana Schutz, Jenny Holzer, Madonna (lol).
Do you reckon your art laughs at or with the targets of your little messages and innuendos, or maybe is it a mixture of both?
I think that I am laughing at it when i make the work, but it’s not really trying to make any particular message clear to anyone most of the time.
What is it about making art that makes you want to go in to your studio every day?
It’s FUN!!! and I love colours. I think it's important to pursue things which aren't always concerned with what you think people expect you to do, also most importantly it is much more fun than most other things I would be doing instead, especially at uni.
You can follow Jacquie’s art on Instagram: @pure_trashh
Words by Clementine Girard-Foley