Kenyon College

Untitled (When Thinking Takes Form series)


Untitled (When Thinking Takes Form series). 2013. 
Mixed media on paper.
7” x 5”.
Courtesy of the artist.


To paraphrase Andy Warhol—Once you have seen the world as “Pop,” you can never look at it the same way again. We are bombarded by advertisements, newspapers, magazine photographs, and billboards which have become cheaply reproduced vehicles of persuasion. I am inspired by these commoditized images and their messages of modern urban life. Sex, power, escapism, violence, knowledge, and entertainment are temptations that confront us each day. This series of collages explores some of these issues. I address the temptations that face us, from our collective childhood to our overworked, overstressed, and over stimulated adult existence. 

In this body of work, I use imagery and techniques appropriated from popular culture and modernist works of art. I embody a mixture of representation and abstraction combined with painting and collage techniques. I have accumulated a visual vocabulary inspired by an archive of countless images. Adapting scenes from art history, advertising design, and comic books I create arrangements of diverse cultural references. Each of my works purposefully overshadows a linear narrative. By juxtaposing unlike elements I am reflecting upon the complex mass media production that dominates the contemporary human experience. 

The way in which I arrange images dictates how the viewer reads and understands a piece. This strategy of subversion has allowed me to de-contextualize and re-contextualize the appropriated image according to my own social and cultural codes. While using this technique of re-identification I realize that the viewer will still make a connection between the image and its original connotation. This preexisting relationship between the appropriated image and an individual allows the viewer to rethink their own reality within my fiction.

My work presents its own language of absurdity, both human and artistic. It has become an expressive medium that is crude and comical. The images are sometimes outrageous and its content seemingly trivial, but each work contains a social message that is obvious although ambivalent. By recasting appropriated images in a close vernacular to fantasies of childhood imagination, irrational doodles, or anonymous graffiti, I make them appear humorous and innocent thus allowing me to exploit Pop Art’s social significance in a critique of mass culture.


Craig Hill
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