Not Hopeless, But Dangerous

A seven-day course in the methods to make it happen

Day 4

Mix and Match

Inspired by the collage works, it’s about bringing the techniques together and creating more complex and layered understanding. It’s about making one artwork - or obviously a series - but making the artwork with both nuance and impact. Finding a way with your chosen medium to address the root of the issue that you’ve selected.

Nancy Chunn, Chicken Little and the Culture of Fear, Scene V: The Jail, 2016 Image Description: Detail of a cartoonish illustration, with photographed heads of real people imposed on the figures, of women in orange jump suits in jail.

Nancy Chunn, Chicken Little and the Culture of Fear, Scene XI: Fox News, 2013 - 2015 Image Description: A rendition of the American flag, the stars replaced by the heads of Fox News commentators, the stripes a mixture of photographs and quotes from various people at Fox News. (Sources: https://feldmangallery.com/artist-home/nancy-chun)

From Nancy Chunn we see artworks that use a newspaper’s front page as a medium, and contrasting it as well, serialising it, and directly addressing the article using images and creating an artwork. There are many ways to enter the topic you’ve selected; they don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to be complicated, they don’t have to be ‘correct’ art or ‘white cube’ art.

Nancy Chunn, August 1996 Image Description: A collection of all of the newspaper front pages that have been painted over by Nancy Chunn for the month of August, 1996 (Source: https://feldmangallery.com/exhibition/183-front-pages-chunn-1-11-2-15-1997)

You can find your own part of what being dangerous and creative is; don’t necessarily` adhere what others believe, find your truth and find your way. Following others is good to learn techniques, but this is about creativity, find your way to address the topic you’ve selected in a much more complex way, an impactful way. If it’s taking the newspaper front page, that’s wonderful, but that’s not the limit. Getting outside habitual thinking patterns and finding a way to complexly address your topic.

Image Description: The front page of The Washington Post, painted over by Nancy Chunn in bright colours and cartoons that satirise the paper’s content. (Source: https://feldmangallery.com/artist-home/nancy-chun)

Day 4 is building on the previous things. Bold and direct. Indirect. Subtlety of nuance. In direct communication we get to the point right away; in indirect communication we create a more complex web in order to highlight the topic. Both direct and indirect ways of communicating are very powerful, and in Day 4 we’re going to use both, both direct and indirect. With direct getting directly to the point, to the essence of the question, using contrast, using seriality, using all these methods together to create the work. So how do you use both direct and indirect communication? How do you use all the tools from the day before to make the art?

Hurrah, die Butter ist alle!, John Heartfield (1935) Image Description: A sepia photograph of a family at the dinner table, eating various things made from metal. Behind them, a photograph of Hitler hangs on a wall adorned with wallpaper bearing the Swastika in repeating patterns. A caption beneath reads ‘Hurrah, die Butter ist alle!’. (Source:https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/blogs/news/3015-hurrah-die-marmite-ist-alle ; see here for more info on this piece)

Adolf the Superman Swallows Gold and Spouts Tin, John Heartfield Image Description; A sepia photograph of Hitler overlayed with an x-ray image showing coins dropping into, and filling, his stomach. Beneath, the caption ‘Adolf, der ubermensch: Schluckt Gold und redet Blech’. (Source: https://artblart.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/exhi015071_web1.jpg; see here for more info on this piece)

Direct is wonderful and very powerful and impactful, however it lacks subtlety of detail. Indirect has a lot more detail and context, but it lacks directness. Doing both at once, having conscious control over using both things at once, is a very helpful tool to have in the artistic toolbox, regardless of medium.