The other night at The Figge Art Museum, I gave a talk regarding the ideas, working process(es), and stories behind some of the works in Pop Culture Palimpsest. Although it is considered a 'no-no' in the public speaking realm to show too many images, I prefer to carpet bomb my audience into submission, so I showed 86 images in roughly 30 minutes. I have consolidated the talk and split it into two sections. A lot of this information can be found in different posts within my blog, I am re-presenting it here along with any new material for ease of viewing/reading.
I started by giving a grateful nod to Mr. Andrew Wallace (Head of Collections and Acquisitions). It was his idea for me to have a show at The Figge Art Museum, and he has been a champion of the idea of me having a show and of my work for quite some time now. Without his efforts and enthusiasm, Pop Culture Palimpsest would not have happened. Thanks!
Speaking of the title Pop Culture Palimpsest, that was Andrew's idea as well. A palimpsest is a document/writing that has several generations of texts/ideas written directly on top of the previous generation. It goes back to a time when paper/papyrus were rare and expensive, so you would re-use a piece of paper versus throwing it and grabbing another to write on. There was no other one to write on.
That notion of one generation after another applied directly on top of each other fits aptly with how I create my images.
Below is a detail shot from Carnival. You can see two distinct layers of imagery make up the piece.
This detail from Visitors shows three layers of imagery.
Skylyne Dryve is also a two-layer painted construction.
I covered some of my influences. Star Wars was a huge influence on me as a kid. This is a drawing from 1977 or 1978. Check out C3PO on the right side of the image.
Here he is just a mere 30 years later. Still on the right side.
I am frequently blown away by various color combos I see in graffiti.
But even the dumpster about a block away from my studio had some cool things going on color/texture-wise...
...that I'd thought I'd try to incorporate them into one of my pieces called, Countdown.
Speaking of Countdown, my good friend Lisa Mahar made such a cool Moon Man figure that I had to add it to Countdown as well.
I also take inspiration from vintage advertisements. Can you image someone in today's world paying for a half-page add that had hand drawn art?
Contemporary good design work (from a stand that sells soap at the Hilo Farmers' Market in Hilo, Hawaii)
Even the advertising in old matchbooks is a source of inspiration.
The instructions for heating a Hot Pocket (ham, cheddar, and broccoli -if I remember correctly...)
Even roadside finds like this flattened out muffler can find their way into my sketchbooks (and ultimately into a finished piece).
I would be remiss if I didn't give a nod to Ye Olde Wacky Packages. These babies rank right up there with Mad, Cracked, and Crazy magazines as far as artwork and satire go.
Even an old CLUE board game can become fuel for a sketch...
...that finds its way into a piece.
Getting back to the notion of a palimpsest, I included the evolution of Quest(Shun). What is present day Quest(Shun) started out in 2003 as eee-KWAY-shun. Note the ladder-like structure leading up the 'A' and 'B'. Also not the stitching to the right of the ladder forms.
The next iteration was around 2009/2010. eee-KWAY-shun became Dialog Series: Hot Dog Variation.
In 2015 I removed the hot dog, turned the canvas upright and added a new section of canvas (towards the bottom) and some more imagery. You can still see the ladders and the stitching. We're up to at least layer #3 at this point.
This new configuration was hazed over and proclaimed Home Coming.
Home Coming only lasted a few months before I wanted to push the canvas further. This is the start of the canvas being known as Quest(Shun). This is layer #4 if you are keeping track.
What I initially thought would be am acceptable head on my archer figure (left side in the top of the tower), soon was deemed unsatisfactory and needed to be replaced with a carved head. These were the two final candidates for the job. The archer's bow is pointing directly to one of the ladder forms left over from its eee-KWAY-shun days.
This is Quest(Shun) as it hangs today. A carved frame is in the works.
Since Quest(Shun) has a strong Don Quixote theme to it, I decided to finish a horse and rider sculpture I was working on with a Quixotic flavor.
Sticking with the notion of a palimpsest, I also reused a portion of the installation/sculpture Dean Kugler, Terry Rathje, and I made back in 2015 called allinitogether.
Here is the finished horse and rider/Don Quixote sculpture.
Again playing with the Don Quixote theme, I (along with Troy Swangstu's gracious help) created a couple of windmills for Pop Culture Palimpsest.
The stained green 2"x2" boards in the windmill are originally from Vestibule -a piece Terry Rathje and I made for Terry's 2013 solo show Questionable Architecture (also at The Figge Art Museum!).
In Part II we'll take a look at Racing Towards The Conflict, Processionalization: Power Lunch With The Tasaday, as well as a quick glimpse into what it took to create the ceramic debris field at the base of Processionalization: Power Lunch With The Tasaday.