Melissa

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"I wanted to make something beautiful, scary, and a bit trippy all at the same time."
Although famous by his work as set designer for the coolest names in the fashion scene, Gary Card is one of the most prominent young artists of the moment – considered one of the creators defining the London art world’s new zeitgeist, actually. His newest work is called Melissa Medusa and is on a three-month exhibition at Galeria Melissa London

With his creative process Card explores different references, from music to fashion. He shows how important it can be to have groundbreaking art around you to inspire your work and also to stick to your own perception of the way things are. 
"What if Medusa had a teenage daughter, with flowing pigtails made up of cartoon cats instead of snakes?"
Melissa Medusa is a fully immersive 3D installation where you step into a hypnotic universe with intense colors and some bizarre cartoons. It's an experience for the whole body and mind that evokes strange feelings in visitors, who discover a new way to meet Medusa as a character. 
Scroll to enjoy an exclusive interview with Gary.
The Melissa Medusa: how did you come up with this installation for Galeria Melissa London?

I started thinking about the experience of walking down into Galeria Melissa London being like a crypt and how it was a little bit intimidating, I thought it would be interesting to explore that as an idea rather than fighting it, that led me to the idea of Medusa's lair and a gigantic confrontational floating head that our audience could interact with somehow. I wanted to make something that was beautiful, scary and a bit trippy all at the same time – I thought Medusa was a fun character to explore all 3 of these ideas, then I started thinking 'what if Medusa had a teenage daughter, with flowing pigtails made up of cartoon creatures instead of snakes?' 

You are such a versatile artist. Is there anything you prefer to work with? Why?

Yes. Actually, my medium of choice is masking tape. When I was a kid I discovered I could mould cool shapes with it, and since then I have used it to sculpt everything – from costumes for Lady Gaga and Steven Klein, to huge sets for Vogue. Early next year I will be launching my first official sculpture show, entirely made from masking tape. 

The 'monster cartoons' we spot in Melissa Medusa tentacles are your signature, right? How did you create them? How did you find your identity as an artist?

A lot of the monster toons are inspired by old Max Fleischer cartoons, from the 30's. I liked the idea that the creatures that flowed out of Melissa Medusa's mind were slightly out of time, plus I love the look of those old designs and wanted to experiment with them.

You became known especially for your work as a set designer in fashion. What is your relationship with fashion?

I am a set designer for fashion predominantly, so I work with fashion in some way every day. And the rest of the time I like to think about anything but fashion and bury my head in books and comics, or watch movies. I'm not a huge consumer of fashion in my personal life. 
 
You have some amazing work in the music industry, too, like the new Paul McCartney album, in partnership with your mate Ferry Gouw – who’s also working on the Melissa Medusa. Could you tell us a bit about more about it?

I was so happy to get Ferry on board to produce the film for this project, we've been collaborating on music video projects together since our early 20's. We made videos for new rave and electro clashy noughties bands as well as some pretty good stuff for block party and blood orange (light speed champion back in the day). We don't get to collaborate much these days, he's too busy doing creative direction work for Major Laser and Bryan Ferry, so it's so fun when we get a chance to collaborate. Working with Fez on the Paul McCartney album campaign was such a joy and honour, that ones made our mums very proud.

Last but not least, we know you’re obsessed with Prince. What do you think about recommending an album for Melissa fans to listen after they finish reading this interview?

Wow, interesting. There are too many to choose from... anything from 1979 to 1988 is totally faultless, in my opinion. His masterpiece is undisputedly 'Sign o' the Times', but so much about music is where you were and how you felt at the time, so my most cherished Prince album is 'The Gold Experience' as it was the first record I ever bought. A safe bet though is 'Parade', stick on 'Mountains' or 'Anotherloverholeinyohead' – both perfect pop songs.
You're more than invited to visit the exhibition. It will be waiting for your point of view. 

43 King Street, London, UK - WC2E 8JY
Mon—Sat 10:30am–7:30pm
Sun 12–6pm