STATEMENT ABOUT COLLAGE ON CANVAS by JOHN SHERIDAN


I USED TO DISLIKE COLLAGE BECAUSE OF THE IMAGINED TEDIUM OF CUTTING OUT SMALL PIECES OF PAPER WITH A VERY SHARP LITTLE KNIFE, AND THAT DID NOT APPEAL TO ME. I DID NOT LIKE THE LOOK OF THE CUT EDGES OF PAPER I SAW IN COLLAGES AND I DIDN'T WANT TO BECOME MIRED IN A DULL CRAFT OF ENDLESS CUTTING.

HOWEVER FOR 25 YEARS I HAD WANTED INSTEAD TO CREATE EXPERIMENTAL CANVASES COMPLETELEY COVERED IN NOTHING BUT BRIGHT, COLORFUL DECALS. THEIR DESIGNS FASCINATED, AND THEY CAME ALREADY CUT TO SIZE. BUT AT THE TIME THERE WAS NO WAY TO AFFORD OR EASILY FIND A LARGE NUMBER OF DECALS SO I TURNED TO PAINTING WHICH I LOVED. I NEVER FORGOT MY DESIRE TO CREATE WORKS MADE OF DECALS.

IN THE HISTORY OF ART, TECHNOLOGY IS CRITICAL, AND THIS PROVED TRUE WHEN ON A HUNCH I TYPED THE WORD "DECAL" INTO THE SEARCH FUNCTION OF eBAY, THE ONLINE AUCTION WEBSITE. ASTONISHINGLY IN SECONDS THERE WERE LINKS TO OVER 30,000 AUCTIONS.

THAT OPENING MADE IT POSSIBLE TO BEGIN RESEARCHING THE IDEA OF CREATING ENTIRE WORKS MADE OF NOTHING BUT DECALS - AS WELL AS WITH STATIC CLINGS, TEMPORARY TATTOOS AND STICKERS OF ALL KINDS. THE IMAGERY AVAILABLE HAS GIVEN ME A VAST NEW 'PALLETTE' OF ALMOST UNIMAGINABLE VARIETY, COLOR AND POWER.

MUCH OF THIS IMAGERY IS AIMED AT THE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS AND IS THEREFORE A KIND OF PORTRAIT OF - AND AN EXPERIMENT ON - PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING. I HAVE FOUND IT TO BE A POWERFUL, COMPELLING, DAZZLINGLY DYNAMIC CHANCE TO USE IMAGES AND LOGOS WHICH CAN BE RECOMBINED TO CREATE A COMMENTARY ON THE DREAMS, WISHES, AND DESIRES OF A PEOPLE. AND TO SHOW AS WELL THE CONTRADICTIONS, SPIN, AND DANGEROUSLY, DELUDEDLY OVER-IDEALIZED PICTURE OF AMERICA WE ARE CONSTANTLY BOMBARDED WITH.

CANVASES MADE ENTIRELY OF THESE SMALL MESSAGES - PREPACKAGED TO SELL SOAP, MOTOR OIL, BARBIE DOLLS, WAR, SPORTS AND AN ENTIRE IDEOLOGY OF CONSUMPTION IDENTITY IN FACT REPRESENT THE TRUE GENIUS OF AMERICAN CULTURE - ITS POPULAR, NOT ITS FINE ART.

THE GAME. THE GAME IS TO REUTILIZE THESE PRE-EXISTING IMAGES TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR GREAT POWER, FORM AND CULTURE - AND AT THE SAME TIME RE-PACKAGE THEM INTO MY OWN FLUID, HIGHLY PERSONAL AND HIGHLY UNIVERSAL MESSAGE THAT CAN SPAN TIME AND SPACE, AND BECOME A TIME TRAVELING TIME CAPSULE OF ART FOR ANYONE TO REGARD, PONDER AND ENTER INTO IN THEIR OWN WAY. THIS IS MY AMBITION.

johnsheridanart@sbcglobal.net