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Magic Mirror (2017)

Magic Mirror is a large digital illustration that positions familiar pop-culture references within a crowded collage of biographical symbolism. Like much of the artist's figurative work, the drawing is easily accessible. Commonplace characters, blunt sexuality, and a cartoon color scheme invite the consideration of even the shortest attention spans. 

The collage is structurally similar to an abstract painting. Perspective and direction are non-existent. Instead, a sense of depth is achieved through layering. The colorful shapes of the drawing are bounded by black lines that curve, merge and overlap to create a surreal arrangement of space. This crowded composition has a paradoxical impact on the viewing experience.

 

 

On one hand it enhances accessibility. Since the collage has no clear focal point, the viewer's focus is drawn to the forms and faces that stimulate the strongest response. Whether the starting point is Bart Simpson's hairline or Gonzo's curved nose is irrelevant. What's important is the starting point itself: a visual 'thread' that can help the viewer unravel the deeper themes of the work.

The paradox of this structural design is that this 'easy accessibility' is achieved through force. Viewing the full collage is like staring into an optical illusion. Backgrounds and foregrounds blend seamlessly. Shadows, highlights, and empty space are non-existent. The viewer MUST find a point of focus, if for no other reason than to give their eye's a chance to rest.

In this way, the drawing challenges the premise of free-will, questioning the limits of self-control in the face of intense visual stimulation. From a thematic perspective this complex dynamic is represented by the object of the mirror.

 

The mirror, much like a painting or digital screen, is flat static object with no innate power or significance. And yet, when encountered, maintains an intense grip on our free-will and emotional state, calling into question the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

The structural arrangement and visual content in this collage aims to emulate this innate power, and actively demand the attention of the passerby. This goal of subliminal stimulation closely mimics the strategic design of consumer content ranging from cartoons and comics to advertisements and pornography.

Beyond its structural influence, the mirror also serves as a foundation for understanding the core theme of the work which is the difficulty in affirming our true social and sexual identity.

While we can proudly insist on our own autonomous perception of our 'true-self', to do so, is to directly challenge the reality of the mirror. reflection in the mirror of society is a the reflection is not an affirmation of my sense of self, but an effacement.

Magic Mirror is an ongoing illustration project that I have been working on for the past 3 years. Originating as a single ink drawing on canvas, its scope and complexity has continued to evolve, in many ways mirroring with my own development as an artist.

When I started the illustration in the fall of 2014, it was the first time in about four years that I drawn anything. A few months earlier I had purchased four 2’x3’ machine-primed art-store canvases from Blick Art Supplies on Santa Monica Boulevard. The first three canvases were used for an abstract triptych painting (California Grey) and after it was finished I decide I should use the last one for something more experimental.

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The mirror, much like a painting or digital screen, is flat static object with no innate power or significance. And yet, when encountered, maintains an intense grip on our free-will and emotional state, calling into question the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

The structural arrangement and visual content in this collage aims to emulate this innate power, and actively demand the attention of the passerby. This goal of subliminal stimulation closely mimics the strategic design of consumer content ranging from cartoons and comics to advertisements and pornography.

Beyond its structural influence, the mirror also serves as a foundation for understanding the core theme of the work which is the difficulty in affirming our true social and sexual identity.

While we can proudly insist on our own autonomous perception of our 'true-self', to do so, is to directly challenge the reality of the mirror. reflection in the mirror of society is a the reflection is not an affirmation of my sense of self, but an effacement.