Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Repurposing Old Art

I have two collage pieces that hang in my office to the right of my desk; they were made by a friend of my father in the early 1970′s. I have no further information about the pieces. This was long before Photoshop, and it looks like she used some kind of transfer process, probably using some horribly toxic chemical, to merge her images together.

I have been wanting to use the images as source material for a while; not only are there tons of cool images hidden within each piece, but I have seen this art my entire life and I am sure it has influenced my own style in some way (maybe the collage-like style, the flatness, the busy detail?).

Anyway, I scanned her work and transplanted a few of the images into a mixed media triptych I made recently.  The pieces are called Dawn Breaking, Mid Day, and Night:

I love the mysterious characters floating around in the original pieces. They are obscured by the print transfer process, but you can still tell they are robed, like some kind of royalty or mythic holy figures.  I took a few of them and made them more central in the second piece of the triptych:

source material
Image of figures transferred into my art (detail)

Because I have been working on these pieces around Christmas time, I have been thinking about those robed figures as the three kings.  The three kings were actually Zoroastrian priests and astronomers, who heralded Jesus as a return of Zoroaster as prophesized in their own holy texts.
I often work themes of spiritual search, prophesy, and return into my work, albeit in very coded ways.  In the modern age, I really believe that clergy are obsolete, and it’s the responsibility of every individual to seek truth.  So maybe the three kings I’m imagining in this piece could be any one of us, not just religious scholars.  Anyway, here are the three pieces individually, they can be purchased at my ETSY store here.

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