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  • Writer's pictureLuke Stoffel

Made in Taiwan at Gallery Bar

New York, NY

On the night of my arrival in Taiwan, I was jolted from my bed by an earthquake. This was just the first of many surprises awaiting me in this enigmatic land, engaged in an internal struggle as it grapples with the concept of westernization.

Made in Taiwan at Gallery Bar by Lucas Stoffel

The Taiwanese countryside, scattered with imposing industrial structures, communist-style apartment complexes, and towering gray grain elevators, starkly contrasts with the cityscape. Taiwanese cities are dotted with ubiquitous Starbucks and McDonald's outlets, resulting in littered streets due to the absence of public garbage cans, sidewalks, and proper sanitation systems. All of this creates a striking juxtaposition with the vibrant beauty and colorful life found in the temples.

Taiwan is deeply spiritual and profoundly superstitious. Here, belief systems intertwine with folklore, ghosts, and ancestry. This becomes apparent when walking through the streets, where the scent of burning paper wafts through the air as locals offer paper money at temples to honor their ancestors.

Made in Taiwan at Gallery Bar New York by Lucas Stoffel

My project delves into Taiwan's rich heritage, including its religious symbols like Taoist temples adorned with intricate dragons, colossal Tao statues, and omnipresent Buddhas. It also explores the fading art of opera performed in hidden alleyways, the remnants of a once-mighty military state, and the aspirations for a brighter future for the younger generation, symbolized by English cram school signs. All of this unfolds against the backdrop of an ever-present street sign, a symbol of tradition in the midst of the country's transition towards a more Western way of life.

Lucas Stoffel, a multimedia pop artist, was the recipient of New York's Starving Artist Award last year and has achieved best-selling status at the Starving Artist Ball twice. He has been commissioned by private collectors worldwide. In 2007, Stoffel was honored as the selected artist for the amfAR Rocks benefit for AIDS research and was featured in AM New York's Premiere Art Rocks Event. He also completed a commissioned series, "Sweetness," for the renowned Dylan's Candy Bar on the Upper East Side. Stoffel wrapped up the summer of 2007 by displaying his award-winning project, "iCon," at the Prince George Gallery on 27th Street before embarking on his current project in Taiwan.

Opening Night Party at Gallery Bar by Lucas Stoffel

Furthermore, Stoffel's "911 Emergency" panels (derived from his award-winning "iCon" project) are currently being considered for display at the World Trade Center Memorial Museum. Stoffel is also looking forward to 2008 as he plans an in-depth exploration of Japanese culture with his upcoming project, "Japan-a-nation," scheduled to begin in June.

By challenging the traditional aesthetics and norms of fine art in the digital age, Stoffel merges dehumanized technological and modern graphic elements with various warm mediums. Starting as photographs, each piece undergoes a transformation into a dimensional work that invites tactile exploration and arouses curiosity.

After earning a degree in design and theatrical arts from Iowa State University, Stoffel studied in Paris, where his appreciation for pop culture grew, and he began incorporating projections, carbon paper, and newspaper into his designs. As a passionate traveler, Stoffel recently spent a year on the island of Oahu, contributing as a photographer to Hawaiian Airlines Magazine. He currently calls New York his home.

Made in Taiwan at Gallery Bar by Lucas Stoffel


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