Acrylic paint on Canvas, 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 different sources clumsily coincide into tight spaces, offering an extravaganza for the consumer. Just as each item appears out of thin air, no one knows where they came from. Nor do many care. This new kind of anonymity conveniently protects manufacturers, as they can now work in the dark (deregulation/prison labor/biocide). Still, this division between consumer and producer is a natural outcome of the globalization of marketplaces. This ubiquitous spastic imagery is the spectacle that maintains 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 mimics the speed at which we make consumer choices, relying on re-cognition. 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 can be 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 echo-chambers 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 what it means to be happy and successful, through unattainable material excess. This harkens back to the idea of collage and the disorientation of the American public by overstimulation to contrived fantasies that 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 newsworthy-ness. Empathy is lost within the disintegration of informed judgements and contemplation. 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. Foucault would recognize it as the ultimate panopticon. The force of money has dominated internet culture with corporate influencers, but the internet still remains relatively open. It is a powerful tool for communication for all who have access to it and may be it's only chance to save itself from devouring the world.