Jon Chonko is a man who likes sandwiches and likes scanning them. He lives and works in New York City.
We had the pleasure of meeting Jon in 2006, and have followed his work for some time. As he prepared his Scanwiches installation at JS55 Gallery, we asked him a few questions about his work and what motivates him.
"The exciting hidden qualities of the everyday and mundane are what I am fascinated by."
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU THAT INFLUENCES YOUR WORK?
I love seeing contrast. Either putting things together that feel out of place and seeing what happens or seeing usual things in an unexpected way. The exciting hidden qualities of the everyday and mundane are what I am fascinated by. I love seeing those things made important or being reminded how wonderful and awe-inspiring our world is. I watch a lot of science documentaries.
HOW DOES YOUR WORK CONNECT DESIGN, TECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN EXPERIENCE?
With Scanwiches I wanted to celebrate the remarkable qualities of one of my favorite foods, sandwiches. They're these beautiful and personal objects that are easily forgotten or ignored. They have these architectural qualities, they're constructed, not just made, that's cool to me and I wanted to expose they're intricacies.
I also love that they hold so many stories. Everybody eats food, and a lot of people eat sandwiches and for every sandwich there's some story. Sandwiches like the hamburger tell us about the shaping of a nation. Individual sandwiches can jog a long-forgotten childhood memory like the smell of 3rd grade or that time we puked in the cafeteria in kindergarten. Deeply personal and important stories hide between those layers of bread.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR PROCESS, WHAT LEAD YOU TO CREATE THIS WORK?
The idea came about during lunch a few years ago. The word "Scanwich" popped up in conversation and I thought I could make that. That could be a thing. I scanned my lunch the next day. The result was stunning and I wanted to keep going, seeing what other sandwiches looked like on a scanner.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES FOR YOU WHEN YOU CREATE PERSONAL WORK VS. COMMISSIONED WORK?
With personal work I make the rules so when I break them I get angry at myself.
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK?
I want people to be a little surprised, a little more curious and excited about their food, and a little hungrier than they were a few seconds before.
Jon Chonko's Scanwiches will be on view at JS55 Gallery through December 18, 2011 (extended!).