Interview | Tofer Chin TOTALLY


Last Friday Lu Magnus presented Totally, the first New York solo exhibition by artist Tofer Chin.

The show highlights his new geometric paintings, photographic wall wrap, and sculptures that utilizes a color palette reflecting “the brash attitude of the ’80s and early ’90s skate culture,” which means, lots of black, white and neon.

Tofer sat down with me for 2  minutes before blowing me off for someone more important, but that was enough to get a real in depth feel for this new show and make a life long best bud.

JY: Whoa. You don’t look Chinese.

TC: Uhh… hello.

JY: I see this is your first solo exhibition in New York.

TC: Yes it is.

JY: What took you so long?

TC: Pardon me?

JY: During your last show “Alex,” you were on drugs. I’m glad to see you’re clean now.

TC: I wasn’t on drugs. It had a drug themed undertone via an Aldous Huxley quote but focused on Op-Art.

JY: I thought step 1 was admitting you had a problem? Doesn’t seem like rehab was that successful…

JY: Your geometric constructions are based on mathematical calculations. Did you use an abacus?

TC: What?

JY: You’re telling me that you’re that good at math that you didn’t need any help? You’re only half Asian, that doesn’t make sense.

TC: No abacus.

JY: I see you like stalagmites. What’s up with that?

TC: I enjoy the sharpness of the shape.

JY: Has anyone been impaled on your stalagmites?

TC: What?

JY: I’d impale someone with that.

TC: …

JY: You’re 32?

TC: Yes.

JY: And your show’s color palette focuses on the brash attitude 80s and 90s skate culture?

TC: Yes.

JY: Hmm…

TC: What?

JY: Oh nothing. Just looks like a silent mid-life crisis cry for help that’s all …

JY: Your painting, 31 White Lines on Black is made up of 31 white lines on a black background. Why isn’t it called 61 Lines of Black and White, or 3o Black Lines on White, and are you sure there are 31 lines?

TC: It’s a black background with 31 white lines on it. And yes, it has 31 lines.

JY: Are you sure, sure?

TC: Yes.

JY: Go count it for me…

JY: Are your parents upset that you’re an artist and not an acupuncturist?

TC: … (gets up and leaves)

JY: Great seeing you again Tofer!