Artist Jordan Wong (WONGFACE) often lets his inner kid come out when he creates his colorful graphic designs. In his latest creation—a Little Free Library and public art piece, “Super Mega Wonder 1999,” located outside Asia Town Center at 3820 Superior Ave.—Wong brings to life some nostalgia from his childhood in hopes of inspiring the children in AsiaTown to borrow a few books.
The five-foot wide, seven-foot tall, and 2.5-foot deep library is adorned with Wong’s renditions of the Japanese Gundam robot kits.
“The work is inspired by when I was a kid and [Gundam robots] were gifts my father would bring back for me from his trips to Japan,” says Wong. “I wanted to create a public work that shared those visuals and inspire. The idea for the Little Free Library came after.”
The installation arrived two weeks ago in AsiaTown and was unveiled in a ceremony on Saturday, April 23. “It was very, very well received,” says Wong. “It was great to see the kids in the community enjoying the work—both the art itself and the books inside.”
Wong says his newest public art piece aims to inspire the next generation of Asian American artists and creative professionals by imagining new opportunities for community placemaking, exchange, and programming in AsiaTown.
Wong first created Super Mega for a 2020 SPACES exhibit “A Public Trust”—five artists’ conceptions of public trust and building trust, in responses to the erosion of Americans’ trust in government, institutions, and each other. Megan Young curated the exhibit.
Wong stocked his Little Free Library installation with comic books, graphic novels, and children’s books.
He says he’s happy to have this new installment have a home in AsiaTown. “Inspiring and encouraging for the next generation of Asian American public artists is near and dear to me,” he explains. “Opening up possibilities for others is a really important aspect of this work.”
Little Free Library and public art piece, “Super Mega Wonder 1999,” located outside Asia Town Center by artist Jordan WongWong’s work can be found all over Cleveland, including a painted utility box on Payne Avenue as designed to bring identity to AsiaTown, his Lakewood mural “Where We’re Going” created in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, a mural in Cleveland Walls! last year, and a 2021 exhibit at Akron Art Museum titled “10,000 Things.”
With the Little Free Library project, Wong credits Dave Welner with WestCamp for his help. “[He] is my entrusted fabricator and really helped bring the work to life,” Wong says. “I've worked with Dave on many projects, including my exhibition at the Akron Art Museum.”
Wong stocked his Little Free Library installation with comic books, graphic novels, and children’s books. “The thing is filled with things that have visuals and pictures,” he says. “That selection really contributed to who I am now and the work I create.”
But Wong also says it’s up to the AsiaTown community to choose the materials for the Little Free Library. “It’s kind of up to the community as to what goes in there,” he says.