Move Over Damien Hirst!

Move 0ver Damien Hirst! Cuz' I think that Shepard Fairey has taken over our news. If publicity rules, then right now Fairey is king.

Boston Globe
Boston cops arrested him at the opening party of his ICA retrospective.

Print Magazine
Milton Glaser does not back up Fairey's position.

Last and certainly not least...
Fairey Countersues!!!

I am sure that there are hundreds of comments and positions and opinions on this out there on the internets. I am enjoying the massive dialog!!! I am sad that I can't bring myself to rant on this subject in this blog. I want to leave it open for discussion, and be more neutral about this, almost like Switzerland. It's too easy to see the black the white and the gray on all this for me, being the chameleon of a Gemini that I am... I can switch sides in a heartbeat. And see the good and bad in all sides.
It's so important for us as collage artists to understand the implications of this situation. We all have our ways of rationalizing and dealing with the fact that in some cases, the very nature of our art is kind of controversial. I know Fairey is not doing collage. However he is pushing the copyright limits publicly and therefore stirring up some dust.
I have been considering a lot lately my own use of imagery and also I am examining my process. I paid close attention to David Hochbaum and the nature of the items he uses in his collage when I recently visited and noticed there was hardly any ephemera to be found. He paints, he makes prints, he does photo transfers and gets funky with his own stuff. He really doesn't use papers like I do. And we spoke a bit about this while I was there. I recall he said something about making his art his own.
I did a piece over the weekend--that Branching out piece in my last post. I made a concerted effort to use as little "other" imagery as possible. It was so very difficult for me! First of all, I found I was stripped of all my materials. It was like I had no paints in my paintbox. But that's a poor analogy, since in reality I only could use paint, since I had no screens burned, no stencils cut, and I was forbidding my own use of wallpapers or other prepared papers. Paint was about the extent of it for the moment. The rule was it had to be as "mine" as I could make it. The resulting project was quite difficult. My style still is there I think, but instead of a busy composition, this felt so stark and naked. Perhaps more powerful. Definitely more challenging. And maybe potentially career changing.
I was with Chris yesterday at an antique show in Clifton Park. There was oodles of paper! I haven't seen that much ephemera at one time in awhile. And there I am, trying to play a new game with myself and follow some rules. Or at least, the rules one way they could be interpreted!!
I can tell you it could completely change my game. And therefore, my art. For now.


Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Milton Glaser but unfortunately cannot agree with him here. The original photograph doesn't move me at all (and plenty photos of Barack are great) whereas the importance of the poster is not even debatable. I suppose if the poster/graphic work was never known, if it made no impact, none of this controversy would be here. But it is and if that's not an argument for fair use, I don't know what is....


Julie Sadler said...

I hear ya. I was surprised at Glaser's comment, actually, and this came thru PRINT magazine!

You would think graphic artists most of all would understand this situation!

tgarrett said...

It's so easy as a collage artist to just consider giving it up- (fat chance of that) but it is a concern and as an arts educator I try to keep up with these things. While I understand the thinking of using all ones own work- I do so love certain ephemera. It has a different graphic impact and adds a different emotional component when it is juxtoposed with other imagery, like photography.

Julie Sadler said...

Terry i sympathize with ya! I also got very discouraged in this exercise and wanted to quit collage too!
But I can't quit. I like to combine textures too much and painting feels sparse to me at this point. I just need to adjust some thinking, stock up on photos and keep creative.
I have this urge to dump all my ephemera *uh oh* but I am holding on for now just to let these thoughts sink in.
Life's an adventure. ARt is too.

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.