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JACKY TSAI | 'NY CITYSCAPE STAMP'
May 2nd 2019
With its monumental skyscrapers, large illuminated signs, beloved sports teams, and glamorous celebrities, New York City has always provided enormous inspiration for artists over the last one hundred years. Notably, New York is one of the central cities associated with Pop Art of the 1950s and 60s - the overt consumerism and rise of the movie star providing ample subject matter for artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein - and Chinese artist Jacky Tsai.
by Tessa Yee
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
More than fifty years later, the city continues to be an inspiration to creatives, and it therefore seems fitting that contemporary artist Jacky Tsai, whose practice is so heavily influenced by Pop Art motifs, should choose to explore this monumental city in his print edition, NY Cityscape Stamp - a 10-colour screen-print first released in collaboration with Eyestorm in 2016.

Tsai’s unique talent of presenting works that are nostalgic and familiar, yet also utterly surprising, is perhaps best illustrated through this distinctive work.

The idea of an oversized stamp came the year earlier when Jacky Tsai was working on a piece to celebrate Hong Kong and its historic relations with the United Kingdom. The finished artwork, Hong Kong Queen, was inspired by a small and almost insignificant everyday object which residents of Hong Kong all knew; A stamp showing the profile of Queen Elizabeth II. Tsai playfully built the Queen’s profile from recognisable elements and architecture from the islands and in such way visualised the close connections between the two countries.
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Jacky Tsai (Chinese, 1984)
84(w) x 100(h) cm
33.07(w) x 39.37(h) inches
7 colour screen print with glow in the dark ink and varnish with hand-cut out edge
PRICE
$ 13,515.00 Available from a private collection
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The use of familiar imagery seen in NY Cityscape Stamp is closely attributed to the influence of Pop Art on Tsai’s composition. This movement of the mid-20th Century saw artists move away from creating completely unique imagery, and instead borrowing subject matter from mass media, well-known icons, and everyday commodities. This literalism meant that some of the most famous works of the Pop Art movement, such as Andy Warhol’s ‘Campbell Soup Can’ became iconic in themselves as they took commonplace images of the time and elevated them to the status of art.

Jacky Tsai’s interest in the Pop Art has seen him explore some of the key mediums of the movement throughout his practice such as collage, graphic art and assemblage. However, while he borrows from some of the original Pop Art ideals, Tsai is able to repurpose them in his own way, always adding a unique and surprising twist. NY Cityscape Stamp is a perfect example of this. Here, Tsai takes the simple object of a postage stamp and makes it larger than life, drawing attention to this seemingly innocuous everyday item, and transforming it into a piece of art. Created as a limited edition print of just 33, the edges of the paper have been hand cut to represent the perforated edge of a stamp. Each of the ‘stamps’ in the edition have been printed with a different number, 1 through to 33 (Artists Proofs are denominated with symbols), in the top right-hand corner as the price in cents of the stamp, making each piece in the edition unique.

At first glance, NY Cityscape Stamp presents a beautifully graphic image of the New York City skyline, soaring out of a black abyss in stunning purples, reds, oranges and yellows.
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Jacky Tsai (Chinese, 1984)
84(w) x 100(h) cm
33.07(w) x 39.37(h) inches
10 colour screenprint with glow in the dark ink and varnish on Somerset Satin 410 gsm paper with hand cut-out edges

Unique prints from a series of 33, each with a different printed number ¢1-¢33

Signed by the artist on front.
Edition of 33
PRICE
$ 4,485.00 Only 2 left at this price
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In typical Jacky Tsai fashion, this work is far from simplistic as he encourages us to explore the intricacies of the image and see more and more each time we do. As we look deeper we start to discover the layers of archetypal New York imagery hidden amongst the towering buildings: a lit-up sign from Broadway; players from the New York Giants American Football teams; Coney Island’s Cyclone rollercoaster; and the famous King Kong pounding his chest high amongst the buildings. Tsai subtly hints to his Chinese heritage, by including Jeremy Lin from the New York Knicks basketball team; Lin was the first player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent in the NBA.

While these more iconic symbols of the city are easily identifiable, there are also more delicate references to decipher: the fire exit staircases on the right hand side of the image; and the line of tiny figures just under the New Yorker sign - appropriated from the infamous photograph ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ taken of workers during the construction of the Rockefeller centre in 1932.

Tsai presents this work with a sense of nostalgia, particularly for any lovers of New York City. Yet, it is also a somewhat mysterious and surprising work - each image seemingly appearing out of nowhere, coming into focus and then receding back again as your eyes move across the page. Then, when you think you have discovered all there is to see, Tsai offers one more twist for his viewers. For some, it may jump out at you straight away, and for others it is near impossible to see. The Statue of Liberty, formed amongst the layers of imagery and appearing like a reflection of light in the New York skyline. While in daylight, she merges into the cityscape, almost invisible to the naked eye, when the lights are turned off, all is revealed. The chaos of the city buildings and the iconic symbols of New York melt into darkness, and Liberty shines through with the help of glow-in-the-dark inks. As with many of Tsai’s artworks, NY Cityscape Stamp will tease and intrigue viewers, and is certainly more than meets the eye.

You can find more information about NY Cityscape Stamp on Jacky Tsai’s artist page here.
 
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