This Friday we welcome a brand new art exhibition, MACHO, to the walls of Dalston Superstore. Straight from the mind of the fabulously talented Ego Rodriguez, the show features his amazing illustrations of handsome men. Following on from the private view, we roll straight into a two-floor Mega Nancy's, the night which Ego also designs the posters for! Taking to the decks will be Nancy's residents Hifi Sean, Jeffrey Hinton, The Lovely Jonjo, Johnny Kalifornia, Pep Sanchez and Will Viper with the usual blend of pop, disco, house, soul and more.
Ahead of the private view and party, we caught up with Ego to find out more about the inspiration behind MACHO...
Do you use real models for life drawing for your pieces?
I use sometimes pictures for sketches or get ideas, as a reference and to practice of course.
In this particular case with MACHO, they are all inspired and penciled from images in Playgirl from the late ‘70s to ‘80s. I have made changes to them, because faces were hard to see in the old scans and in order to play around as well with the negative space and composition overall.
And what do you look for in a model?
I feel attracted to people that look like I could have drawn them myself, exaggerated features, like a comic character, I like strong personalities, big eyes, eyebrows! Noses!
Where in the world do you find the most macho men?
Sadly I think in the current times, in far too many places. We need the alpha male to turn the knob down a bit, and move on from old, ignorant, dated mentalities.
Which artists who depict the male form do you find inspiring?
Stefano Canulli is my greatest crush when it comes to illustration, so it’s his male figure. Henry Scott Tuke, Egon Schiele, Von Stuck also… And I love contemporary cartoony artist like J.Bone and Glen Hanson.
If you had a time-machine and could go back to any dancefloor or party of any era (recent or event ancient) to hang out with the manliest men where and when would we be setting the timemachine dials to?
On my darkest hour it would be to some tribal, wild sacrifice in a top of a volcano or something similar, with drummers and people going crazy in trance.
In an lighter mood maybe some cool ballroom in the ‘20s, all dressed up to the nines, doing Charleston, decadence and spirits.
Do you prefer drawing men over everything else?
Actually I don’t. I’ve always had a weakness for drawing women; men were, for the most part, just a handbag for the characters I’ve drawn. But in the last few years I’ve turned towards drawing men.
Tell us about your background and training...
My parents were pretty arty themselves so my brother and I grew up in that environment, with lots of support, tools and education, so we both ended up on the field, he does comics I am more into illustration.
I never really studied in an art school for it, but I do practice a lot and continuously. I like to work with new ideas or projects that challenge me.
What can we expect from MACHO?
Hmmm, MACHO is my way to approach a broader audience, easily. The idea was to appeal to lots of people for different reasons. They are sexy, they are corny, they are bright and colourful, you shouldn’t expect too much, just enjoy them.
What influence does your Spanish roots have on your work?
That’s a hard one, because I moved away from there over 18 years now… I guess temperament? Energy somehow, I know it’s a bit cliché, but with the distance I can tell as a country everybody is quite nervous, shaky and intense.
And I do carry that with me and it goes into what I do.
The Nancy's posters have a different feel from the MACHO work... what informs their style?
As much as I like to evolve or create based on previous work, when something is a project per se, like MACHO I don’t like to replicate it in other forms. With Nancy’s the idea was to build an identity for a club night too, the roots and inspiration are similar, the retro soul, the hair, the ambiguity of sex, but the Nancy’s posters should speak of a club. Which is why the colours and lines are brighter, the figures for Macho mean to be coated, plastic whereas Nancy’s seem to be having a disco light inside. They are playful, and animated. They tell us a story.
It's Mega Nancy's as well as MACHO. If you were taking to the decks as well, what would be your last song to play?
I would start with Meteor Man by Dee D Jackson and I will have to finish it with Donna Summer’s Last Dance.
Join Ego this Friday for the MACHO private view followed by Mega Nancy's from 8pm - 3am at Dalston Superstore.