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Mike Chavez aka Migs is a bit of an enigma; I had some trouble finding information about him and his work. What I did find out is that Migs is a Melbourne based artist who used to work as an illustrator for Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Brothers but now is a solo artist exploring aspects of post modernism and his Filipino ancestry. In an attempt to find out more I recently e-mailed Migs asking him about the nature of his upcoming exhibition: GHETTO SUPERSTAR. On initial viewing the show looks like a superficial, borderline pornographic*, exploitation of the female body. Despite what that sounds like, I do not mean this is a bad way at all. I really love the first image shown (Ghetto Superstar) and overall the works are edgy, contemporary relevant and dynamic in their representation. However, it looks like my first assumptions are not entirely correct, Migs tells me; "The show GHETTO SUPERSTAR explores the issues of exploitation and the emergence of the third world, notions of beauty, gender, identity, transformation.” He then adds “oh, and by the way - they're not girls.” Evidently there is so much more than meets the eye. Instead of being superficial, the exhibition is quite an intellectual summation of emerging social issues and opinions. Whilst I do like the images, they initially didn’t work for me on an emotional level (which I’m assuming is what an artist wants to provoke), however maybe this was because of my lack of a y chromosome - there is a lot of T&A.; Regardless, I took an interest purely because of the medium and method in which these images are presented. The gold alongside monotones works effortlessly to create a contemporary and street cool depiction. In saying this, I am so glad I e-mailed Migs about the work - however brief his explanation was, it completely altered my perception of the works, appreciating them in a whole new way. My point is, don’t just skim the surface of artworks. I strongly urge you to go out and uncover what it is your favourite artists’ depictions are about. So many artworks that have appealed to me initially have meant so much more when I understood what the artists’ intentions were, as if Bill Henson wasn’t enough proof (I’m pro Bill Henson by the way). If you’re not really into the whole political and social aspects of GHETTO SUPERSTAR - that’s kinda lame, but they’re still pretty bad ass images** and I suggest you check them out at his upcoming exhibition at the Iain Dawson Gallery in Paddington, Sydney from the 29th of September till the 10th of October . * defines Pornographic as “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit” So whilst Migs’ exhibiton does involve ‘obscene..photographs’, I don’t think it crosses the border of pornography because it clearly has artistic merit, and socialist comments to boot! **The images I’ve chosen to display are the more conservative ones of his exhibiton. Images featured: Ghetto Superstar and Double Penetration by Mike Chavez

Alyssa Jasmine

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