Sto Len is a printmaker, sculptor, painter, musician and curator with interests in improvisation and experimentation within a variety of media. His current body of work integrates the traditional art of Suminagashi with experimental marbling on found maps, books, and printed propaganda. Recent collaborations with nature, sewage and pollution in the New York waterways (and recently the West Lake in Vietnam) has made the Newtown Creek his second studio. Working en plein air from a rowboat, Sto uses a process like paper marbling to print directly off of the water. Sto Len is based in Brooklyn with familial roots in Vietnam, his work incorporates these bonds connecting issues of both their history, environment, and politics.
Renouncing the fussiness historically associated with marbling however, Sto’s work celebrates chaos. Layers of oil paint, spray paint, soap, dirt and various debris is built up on the water surface in large kiddie pools, wooden trays and buckets. They sit for hours and sometimes days, creating a floating painting that is then disturbed with brush work, and other techniques that can include wind from a fan, sounds from a speaker and dripping oils. When each piece is ready, it is captured by dragging, dipping, or laying paper across the surface.
In the “Waste” print series, he takes this idea one step further and utilizes a completely natural environment to create his work. Accessing waterways by rowboat, Sto uses highly polluted areas like the Newtown Creek in NY as his medium by marbling what is floating on top of the water. Capturing both natural substances and a wide array of man-made pollutants, these prints contain the results of industrial pollution. Dumped oil, discarded toxins, litter and sewage overflow mix with algae, sticks, plants, dust, and dirt to create intricate patterns and painterly splashes. At times serene and at other times violent, the end results are powerful documents of these poisoned ecosystems.
Sto Len has exhibited his artwork internationally, including exhibitions in NY, Vietnam, Japan, London, Australia, Denmark, Canada and Mexico City. Sto co-founded the alternative arts space Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn,NY which has exhibited hundreds of artists since its inception in 2004 and continues to curate exhibitions as a project-based Non-Profit Arts organization.
In 2009, Sto performed as Lupus Yonderboy in an 8 hour piece entitled CASE along with avant composer Tony Conrad and porn star Sasha Grey (among many others) in an adaptation by artist Brody Condon of William Gibson’s sci-fi novel Neuromancer at the New Museum in New York. Around the same time, performance began to become a larger part of Sto’s artistic practice with the formation of performance art/ damaged music duo DUBKNOWDUB. In 2011, Sto completed the Time Synch Residency at the Clocktower Gallery in NY with his sound and performance work. He has since performed at diverse venues such as MOMA PS1, New Museum, St. Marks Church, Ramiken Crucible, Silent Barn, and Roulette in New York, as well as Atelier Kunst Spiel Raum and the English Theater in Berlin, Theater de Chameleon in Amsterdam, Apiary Studios in London, La Société de Curiosités in Paris and Manzi Gallery in Vietnam.
Picnic Magazine, Interview, Summer 2016
Interview – And Of Other Things Magazine, February 2015
Grime of Passion, Daniel Furfaro, Brooklyn Paper, September 2014
Saturn Sushi by Al Burian, Vice Magazine
Interview with Vessel Magazine
NY Times Review of My Slow Called Life by Roberta Smith
Featured on “The Lookout,”Art In America
Harold’s Sketchbook review of Temple of Bloom
Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof’s Art Blog on the Space 1026 show
Artslant on Crooked Smiles Exhibtion
White Hot magazine interview
Art Forum on Family Room
NY Times Review of Porch Show by Holland Cotter
Cinders Gallery – www.cindersgallery.com