Acrylic paint on Canvas with Varnish, 40" x 56"
August 20, 2018
The stock photos represented in this collage were sourced on Google images and arbitrarily arranged on Photoshop. This image-making technique is highly common with supermarkets, corner stores/ delis/ bodegas, where you will see bright collages of perfect stock photos of anything from roses to sandwiches to paper towels to Metrocards. The essence of collage manifests itself within the store. Items from all different sources clumsily coincide in small spaces, offering an extravaganza for the consumer. As each item seems to appear out of thin air, no one knows where they came from. Nor do many care. It’s hard to say whether this diversion is intentional. An outcome of this new kind of anonymity is a win for producers, as they can now work in the dark (deregulation/prison labor/biocide). Yet this wall between consumer and producer is arguably a natural outcome of globalization of the marketplace. Nonetheless, it is certain that the growing presence of spastic generic imagery has worked to maintain the public’s inability to bridge the gap between the corporate vision of a quality of life, and their own reality.
Brevity has 2 definitions which simultaneously cause a positive feedback cycle for the particular scenario I wish to describe. 1) The quality of expressing much in a few words. 2) Shortness of time or duration. Brevity is the crux of effectiveness in marketing. Repetition plays an important role as well. A posteriori knowledge crystalizes instantly, like varnish. Within the painting, brevity is marked by its bare bones straightforwardness. It mimicks the speed at which markets move logistically and psychologically. In the age of mechanical revolution, images flourish at an ever increasing speed while attention span, literacy and vocabulary diminish to the point of stupidity.
Painting as Meditation
Painting has always been more than depicting images, documentation, and applying paint to a surface. It is sometimes the only way to express an idea that is too abstract for words. The act of painting itself puts the painter in a heightened state of concentration, sometimes called flow. For 2 years on and off I worked on this painting. During this time, I was finally able to narrow the ideas behind my fruit painting down to 4 points. Though I often catch myself overthinking and planning, I’m learning to let go. Ultimately, a work’s reception is up to the viewer, and is out of the painter’s control.
The genesis of the internet of things brought promise of open exchange, innovation, and accessibility. The overwhelming force of instant information and connectivity changed the way people interact with each other and with the world around them. Cheaper, faster, and easier communication led to breakthroughs in all fields of learning. This new freedom also meant you could search for information with a confirmation bias, as well as publish doctored information as fact. The cyber world eventually evolved into echochambers called “online communities” that viciously enforce conformity and obedience of opinion. This can be largely attributed to the consolidation of media organizations and internet service providers, enabling corporate interests to influence public opinion by controlling the flow of information.
Today, the internet is an integral part of American culture. Celebrities dominate social networks with displays of unattainable material excess and wealth, and influence ideas of what it means to be happy and successful. This harkens back to the idea of collage and the disorientation of the American public by overstimulation and an overexposure to idealized versions of reality that often become more real than reality itself. The internet renders violence and pornography trivial and promotes a culture where clicks of a mouse take precedence over newsworthyness. Empathy gets lost with the disintegration of informed judgements and comtemplation. Journalist Chris Hedges describes America as
“a society awash in electronic hallucination… [which] confuses us about our identity and conditions us to choose the illusions of unachievable happiness that keep us from fighting back.”
We live in an era where opinions are comparable to facts, science can be used to elucidate misleading statements that benefit corporate interests (i.e. climate change deniers), and censorship comes in the most clandestine forms. The force of money has dominated internet culture with advertising, social media influencers, and corporate, but the internet still remains open. It is a powerful tool for communication for all who have access to it and be it's only chance to save itself from devouring the world.