I am primarily a collage artist. I enjoy the challenge of integrating collected clippings from my life and seamlessly integrating them into a world filled with surreal humanoid landscapes of my design. With the immense amount of paper product the printmaking process produces I have been able to rely on my own clippings rather then my collecting habit. My working is completely autobiographical. The subject matter may not always be a conscious decision I recognize before the creation of an image but it is rare that I do not gain personal insight from further analysis afterwards. Although I see myself throughout all of my work I do not wish to shut down alternative pathways for other interpretations for my expression is the response to living within a web of dynamics which effect all of us collectively and individually. I believe that utilizing materials collected from my life allows me to draw connections between the memory of an event (as solidified in the clippings) and larger dynamics I read from their combination with more ambiguous images.
My androgynous characters reappear consistently throughout the body of my work in different arrangements, sometimes recognizably the same person, often mistaken as distant cousins. I have listed some of my artistic influences for these artists are those whose lives and voices are carried through a compilation of images from their daily lives and imaginations. The people and things that they see are depicted throughout their work and serve as a jumping off point from which these artists are able to depart from and let their impulses guide the development of the image.
The Lithographs by Kathe Kollwitz (1867) titled “The Call of Death” “Death Seizes a Woman”, “Death Swoops” and “Death and a Woman” if read in the context of a body of her work are all clearly informed by her sketches from life. They partly may have been scenes she observed or perhaps created by referencing previous sketches yet there is a clear point of departure where her imagination becomes necessary. This necessary point of departure is the subject of Death. Death being an event that often has different feelings of relief, surprise, fear or anguish, Death is a happening Kollwitz found necessary to anthropomorphize, to make a present being in her work. These depictions of death may be more true to the experience of the loss of life then a rendering of a dyeing person or a dead body. I sought out these particular prints of Kollwitz is because I believe it is necessary to talk about the end of our lives as it is an event that happens to all of us. I do not wish to ignore or demonize or ignore the end of my life when I do not know how it will happen and what effect it will leave. Furthermore, death is often the result of bad health due to hierarchal organization. The information concerning the causes and effects of death are mostly concentrated in the hands of our health care providers, doctors, the medical industry and governments who, though they possess such knowledge still avoid the topic and have difficultly discussing death with those who will experience it. The duty of making the topic of death understandable is left to our artists, those who make horror films filled with young women ravaged unexpectedly and the recorded history of genocides where the power relations and banality of evil becomes clear but no singular voices are heard. Kathe Kollwitz is another source of information on the topic as I hope to be.
Ralph Steadman (b. 1936) work is a valuable documentation of his life and the events he has experienced. The disruptions within his illustrations often look as though they were made after the arrangement of a collage while his titles, phrases and handwriting are a inseparable part of his pieces. There is a consistency in all of his work written, photographic and illustrated that I can personally relate to for the vast majority of what I have created I can see a trademark style that could only be my work. Through this silk-screening course I would like to put this belief to the test and see if my signature taste and style will extend into digital work that has less of my physical hand.
Kiki Smith (B. 1954 Germany) has created a body of work that function as a dictionary of contemporary iconic imagery. Utilizing combinations of print media and direct hand work her imagery addresses the life cycle of a woman whose contemplation of her origin, her end, and her body have encouraged me to approach these topics with calmness and understanding. Kiki Smith work explores our human life cycle, anatomy, birth and death while effortlessly crossing borders between artistic processes, she has helped pave the way for the sculptural collage illustrative language i am trying to achieve.
Ariel Pinks (b. 1978) is a combination of observed and abstracted images, many times bodies, many times himself makes it easy for me to enjoy the brutal, grotesque honesty of his work. With bodies and parts that come in and out of one another it is hard to distinguish a birth from a death scene as they often happen simultaneously. The photographic texture he achieves with graphite brings realism to his exaggerations that can be achieve through a digital combination of hand and photographic imagery. Pinks humor is clear in the lack of reluctance to pin down the meaning of the image with phrases such as “old fart booty time” and “fool for love”. These images can be found on the web at http://www.angelfire.com/la3/zanna/art.html where he facetiously states that all prints can be bought for 10,000$. It is for his honesty, the interest in orifices, the combination of the real and fantastic and his willingness to share his personal experiences with others that I list him as an influence.