Phantasmagoria: Interview with Computer Arts Magazine.
1) I read the thesis of the show in the press release you sent out and it seems a little baffling – can you break down the theme of the show a little bit for me, and the kind of art people are likely to see at Phantasmagoria?
Well we want to comment on advertising using meaningful and symbolic art to sell and promote products. The concern with this is that in order for capitalism to work, people have to keep buying new things, so commodities have to be disposable things but at the same time appeal to a society that demands meaningful objects. When consumers discover their items to be void of authenticity they will seek something new. Art that is a counter reaction to consumer culture is too often used by the same culture it is challenging and is usually distorted. The art in the exhibition will be a mix of satire, the grotesque, street art, pop art and low-brow illustration.
2) Our readership are mainly graphic designers and illustrators – what do you think that audience will get out of attending?
It would hopefully raise awareness about this issue and inform graphic designers and illustrators. Creatives working in consumer advertising, in my opinion, should consider what they are referencing more, research the cultures they are drawing from more appropriately, and not distort or abuse meaningful visual information that owes itself to history and social cultures. Hopefully the exhibition concept and the artist’s work will inspire some interesting debate amongst creatives, it will also be a really good night of drinks and good vibes.
3) Tell us a little more about Jon Burgerman, Boicut and Shin – why did you choose to ask them to contribute and how does their work link in with the theme of Phantasmagoria? For example what sort of statements or creative methods go into their pieces so as to tie them to the rest of the artwork on show?
Each of the artists in question are great entrepreneurs as well as artists. It is very exciting to see many artists like them evolving to the world of visual language and doing what they have to do to survive as independent creatives. To me they are a bit like pastiches of consumer culture though and the low-brow visual world we experience each day. Their work is really sophisticated and hand made and they use mass consumer techniques to expand their empires if you like. I think there is a lot to be understood about the state of contemporary art through how they are approaching being artists.
4) What are some of the other interesting pieces people can see?
James Unsworth’s “Most Beautiful Suicide” depicts dead 23-year old Evelyn McHale. She jumped to her death from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in 1947. The picture deceives viewers by appearing to be something it is not.
Andrew James Jones’ “Crying” is typical of his usual work. It is disturbing, weird and also very funny.