I don't know about you, but I often (almost always during the school year when I'm teaching) feel like I'm going to lose it. I have those moments when my heads feels like it's about to come unscrewed. This, I guess, is my homage to those moments. Some people seek therapy--I do art.
The piece was created in an old drawer. The assemblage includes a vintage photo (decapitated, of course), found objects (including a porcelain doll head and piano parts), vintage paper, and an old book cover (the inner lining).
Upper, middle, and lower detail shots are shown below. The dimensions are about 17 X 4.5 X 4".
I've constructed this most recent piece--called "If You're Not Losing Your Head, You're Not Paying Attention"--in a 10" X 10" metal cash box, exactly like the one above. (Actually, the lid has been removed, so it's really made from the bottom two-thirds of a cash box.) After composing the various elements into the finished product, I discovered that the use of a cash box ended up being rather fitting, given the message of my piece. I've said before that my art is, more than anything else, satirical at heart--so, yes, most of my pieces have a message/theme. "If You're Not Losing Your Head..." pokes fun at us Americans, an easily-herded and -manipulated breed (sheeple). Normally I don't comment on my intended message because I feel it's important that those who view the art (like readers of literature) generate their own themes. However, given the serendipitous nature of how the box itself tied into my message, I figured a little explanation might be in order.
The power elite in this country (organized religion, Wall Street, the military industrial complex, corporate media, and so on) and their representatives slithering through D.C. and statehouses across the country have used FEAR--sometimes blatantly, but often subliminally--to manipulate us. Sadly, this tactic (scare the shit out of them so they don't question anything) has been, by and large, quite successful. We're surrounded by fear-inducing messages--hence the "Warning Wheel," which I happened across on a walk one morning, serving as kind of a halo in my piece (see below detail shot). The goal of those in charge is that we so "lose our heads" in fear and distraction that we'll sign over our minds and willingly accept what can only be described as mental servitude. In addition, like a professional pick-pocket, the power elite hold our attention, all the while reaching into our pockets and lifting our cash (see how the cash box fit in?). So, anyway, take it or leave it--that's the story of how "If You're Not Losing Your Head, You're Not Paying Attention" came to be.
Below is a side view, where you can see the depth (about 3") of the cash box that houses the piece.
The sharp nails (above) and barbed wire (below) were conscious choices--there's DANGER out there...be AFRAID!
After recently creating two collage-based pieces on re-purposed kitchen cabinet doors, I've kind of got the urge to do more art of this type. So I dusted off a chunk of 3/4" plywood I had lying around the workspace and created this piece. The dimensions are 16 X 24"; it's created with a vintage photo, vintage paper, tissue paper, photocopy/matte medium transfers, wall plaster texture, colored pencil and acrylic paint. Below are detail shots of each quadrant.
To the right is a close-up of the piece's focal point--or what I hoped would serve as the focal point.
People occasionally ask me where my inspiration comes from. Generally my answer is something along the lines of "beats me" or "I often ask myself the same question." This latest piece, though, was easy to put together. A few weeks ago I purchased a print of an Ernst Haeckel illustration at my local junk/vintage shop; the shop owner, I believe, bought an entire book and was selling them off by the page. Anyway I bought two pages: one with octopi and squid on one side and sea shells on the other, and the second page with bats on one side (Halloween's coming up) and frogs on the other. One octopus immediately caught my attention--probably because of the eye-spacing--and I vowed, then and there, to use it in some sort of octopus/human hybridization. (I know, I know...I'm not hooked up right.)
I then searched my ever-growing stack of vintage photos and found the gentleman used in this piece. Sure he had an epic beard and a dapper suit, but what really drew me to him was the simple fact that his eye-spacing exactly matched the octopus' eyes. Score! I had the focal point for my piece.
After combining the critter with the man, I thought of the mythic kraken, the beast that terrorized sailors and pulled ships beneath the ocean's waves. What, I thought, would the kraken do when the monster gig got stale, or when he wanted to retire? Well, perhaps he'd settle down in some quaint little port on a Caribbean island and start a small business. Maybe a deep sea salvage company...haha. Regardless, I'm sure he'd be a well-respected (fear does engender respect, doesn't it?) "man" of the community. That said, I give you "Karl von Kraken, Esq."
Other than the photo and illustration, the finished piece (which measures about 8 X 6 X 2.5") also includes pieces of a map, a National Geographic page manipulated with CitraSolv, found objects, glass from a vintage picture frame, and a hand-made box.
Color me jealous because I could never grow a beard as awesome as old Karl's facial shrubbery.
In the side view shot (below) you can see that the exterior's been covered in pieces of map, which I aged. Also, you can kind of see a piece of rusted chain running the length of the interior; actually, there are two pieces of chain, one on each side of Karl.
The piece's header (see below) was created with a found piece of rusty metal, a couple of rusty square nails, and a smashed beer bottle cap that I painted.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.