Edited and Compiled by: Althea Chia
Publisher: Guu Media
Date Published: 2004
“For Those Who Dream of Electric Sheep”
Originally, I was attracted to ‘Io: Art of the Wired’ because I was going through a stage of obsession over the artist Hyung-Tae Kim (what an obsession it was!). I would have been happy with just a pretty Hyung-Tae Kim section, yet as it turns out I got much more than that.
‘Io’ is actually the predessor of Bliss Express: Illustrating Happiness and is also Althea Chia’s first book. In comparison ‘Io’ is a more personal, quiet affair. ‘Io’ centers around modern asian pop art and Althea Chia’s attempt to wade through the over saturated media of mass produced, stereotypical anime works. ‘Io’ reestablishes the words ‘pop art’, not as something trashy and common, but vibrant and unique. The intro essay is short but sweet and explains the meaning of ‘Io’ (one of Jupiter’s moons interestingly enough).
For a long time I have thought that pop art and ‘pretty pictures’ in general have been overlooked as meer eye candy. I really do get sick of either having to look at an old masterpiece or something ‘interpretive’, without the middle ground being celebrated. In ‘Io’ a snapshot of the bold subtleties of pop are explored. We have the hyper, candy coloured works of Joysuke Wong, the dreamy, mellow Rain and fluid, vibrating art of Benjamin.
Every artist has a brief biography, is interviewed and has a couple of photos of their work stations (which seem very busy and ecclectic). Althea has the knack for asking relevant, yet personal questions that help to further illustrate the meaning behind the works. The layout is beautifully produced, with a mix of pastels and bold primary colour splashes that help to elevate the artworks.
Above all I enjoy the optimism and passion for life of ‘Io:Art of the Wired’. When I pick up her books I feel happy and inspired. It celebrates the brightness of the modern world and its youth rather than condemning it to views of materialism and lacking morality. Its selection of artists are varied and brilliantly talented. ‘Io’ is a visual treat, right from its slick, gorgeous cover to its honest conversations to with the artists themselves.
Favorites include: all of Benjamin, ‘Merry Christmas’ ‘Travelling by Flying Bike’ by Joysuke Wong, ‘Tinkerbelle’ ‘Songs’ ‘Trouble Spot’ ‘Ragnarok picture’ ‘Runaway’ by Hyung-Tae Kim, ‘Mushroom Parasite’ by Lee Nahoo, ‘LRRH’ ‘Digital Print Series 02’ by Ogi, ‘Weary Flower’ ‘Nothing Except Voices’ ‘Meditation’ ‘A Flower’s Name’ ‘The Moon’s Banquet’ by Rain, ‘After School’ ‘Happy’ ‘Shade’ by Wakaba
♥♥♥♥½ – 4½/5