Appropriation

 

Most of my current work involves appropriating something. Whether it is someone else's artwork on the cover of a book, or an object found on the street, I like to take an object and give it a new story.

A book painting from my series " stangers " where I paint over found books

A book painting from my series "stangers" where I paint over found books

However, some people disagree with this - especially people who work in marketing or digital adverting, a world which it is prone to copying, re-tweeting and cannibalising other people's content. However, I do not believe that art and marketing are not the same thing. For me it is about intention. 

Someone crudely implied that my work was similar to this restoration disaster,

Someone crudely implied that my work was similar to this restoration disaster,

In this series, I choose to collect books that I have never read, then glue them shut and start painting over the cover. First, I will remove all text from the book, then begin blurring, adding or removing parts of the image in order to create something new.

When all the books are shown together, they create a new story. This isn't enough for some people, who proceeded to attack me on facebook.

However, a former fellow art student, Angelique Kendall, came to my rescue and defended my practice far more eloquently than I can. Here is what she said:

"Might I chime in? Jacques, I immediately viewed the work as appropriation, and also saw the analogy of books to people. I find it very interesting that the covers, which are meant to be drawing people into the book to open its pages and read it, are serving a completely different role here just by virtue of the fact that you have glued the book shut. It emphasises that the cover stands on its own merit - but only when it is not performing its function. Whilst performing its function it is anonymous, hidden behind titles and blurbs, we rarely consider it on its own merit as a work of art, but rather appreciate the overall design as a design. Through your painting you have purposefully exposed that anonymity, and although you have revealed it by inviting closer inspection, it remains anonymous (hence that I like that you dont credit the original - it would undermine that very anonymity that you are exposing). The analogy to human strangers is stronger that way. I also like it that some parts of the cover are left unpainted; the covering / revealing in the anonymous strangers is an incomplete act, ambiguous, and a continual "work in progress"... I get it, and if I do so will others (in my humble opinion). Keep going! (And thanks for sharing the images - it is inspiring me to pick up my brushes again too!) Happy painting!

She has said it all far better than I can. So I am just going to stick to expressing myself with my paintbrush, even after others try to discredit me. I write enough in my day job after all.