Spinning Pop is an artistic and conceptual exploration of contemporary social issues in terms of the political arts. Spinning Pop records my daily reflections on the issues and events of my day as an artist and citizen. These recordings are portrayed through distorted figurative imagery. The figurative imagery represented in my paintings and digital collages for this project, are metaphoric of contemporary popular culture and events from a political arts perspective. I source the initial material from a mix of personal photography and found images from the global community.
Over the past century and a half, with the exponential availability and use of the photographic image, particularly now in its digital form, visual imagery has become an integral part of our daily life. Almost everyone of all ages in developed countries carry a camera of some sort about their person – resulting in a deluge of imagery from the most banal, to the capturing of history’s most important events. Unsurprisingly given the technological revolution with this medium, emerging photographic based practices became an early focus out of postmodernism, to form a defining aesthetic to the political arts.
Adapting Pop Art’s notion of mass media imagery into a context of the contemporary digital age, my work draws on a myriad points of reference. Utilizing fractured images to provide an allusion, to the digital noise pounding away daily into our sub consciousness. Spinning Pop diverges from the traditional Pop Art notion of a pronounced repetition of a consumer icon, instead the work focuses on the deluge of contemporary digital content. This compilation of the fragmented imagery is vividly distractive, not unlike cable surfing or a jaunt through Times Square.
Spinning Pop considers elements of Pop Art through an artistic and conceptual exploration of specific people and events of the day. The works are diaristic in nature that metaphorically record a spectator’s experience of the contemporary digital age. While the technological developments have enabled me to explore the mechanisms of this new aesthetic direction, the work is still ultimately about the ideas that are explored in a political arts sense. The photograph and its manipulation are only the means, or rather one of the mediums of choice to achieve the articulation of those ideas.
Digital photo manipulation reaches back to the very infancy of photography, a time where separate emulsion plates were compiled to create panoramic landscapes. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, digital image manipulation equipment and software enabled us to readily transform our captured images. This transformation through the adding of other components into the image’s composition, or the convenient removal and alteration of other aspects of the image, changed the dynamics of my relationship as an artist, to the image completely.
Traditionally the photographic image implied a record of a single instant in time from a single point of perspective. These limitations warranted us as photographers, to either assemble a staged shot, or to passively await for the ‘decisive moment’ for the elements to compose within the camera’s view. Digital photo manipulation has removed these constraining limitations of traditional photography, to now enable us take control of both multiple perspectives, and the joining together of instances of time.
The electronic format of digital photography enables me to control the transformation through the merging of images, thereby providing a visual nuance that is fresh with ideas, and ripe for the viewer’s creative interpretation. I interpret my ideas of political arts through photography that is either sourced intuitively, staged shoots, or through found images. The resulting images morph to the surreal, sublime and somewhat Gothic. Through my artistry I have the means to present the viewer with medleys that often have a serene visual aesthetic.
Pop art in its beginning’s, freeze-framed what consumers of popular culture arts experienced into iconic visual abstractions. With the advent of the techno age, visual information circulates in such quantities, so rapidly and exponentially, that to comprehend a fraction of it all becomes a kind of production process in itself. The recording of history and how it’s interpreted has forever changed. The exposure to mass media and consumer advertising has opened up a brave new world of imagery saturation, with a tech savvy generation only too aware yet receptive to the processes of imagery marketing; including the cautious acknowledgment of the digital photo manipulation that readily occurs to such images, ranging from the air brushing of features to outright attempts at fraud.
The use of digital media has moved from the role of recording and documenting a popular culture of the time, to one now that creates its own culture(s), in ever quickening flashes that morph in and out of time often in unison with the latest fad television series or movie franchise.
The ‘spinning pop’ project as political arts is supported through the maintenance of logs, diaries, and various volumes of collected documentary materials. These documents comprise five components through which the nature of my practice is explored. I have adopted a visual approach to the traditional ‘artist’s journal’, with an extensive series of visual, written, and collected documents that have recorded the works in process. The five documentary components of this project comprise Collections (volumes of text based source materials); Diaries of digital daily images and collages printed onto copy paper; Work in progress logs (volumes of notes and photographs of the daily work practices); Daily postings to www.ianbunn.com of the completed works; and including the Digital Video compilation diaries.
While my work is influenced by Rene Magritte’s great sense of mystery in his juxtaposition of what appears to be unrelated images, I seek a less literal representation of the images created. His intent is to build an ambiguity into the visual language, an intention to engage the viewer on several levels. Generally my painted work is in a pixelated style, and while they are influenced by Georges Seurat’s intent for the viewer’s eye to blend the colours, they are not developed through the Pointillism technique. The digital work varies in its use of mediums and presentation, often produced with archival inks-on-cottonrag paper.
Unsurprisingly, we as a collective of artists examine every facet of life, utilizing all available resource, materials and mediums to depict our interpretation of the world about us. The use of digital photo manipulation, and the creation of random imagery is just not surprising, nor outside the ‘norm’ of our brave new world. Photography has for many decades had to combat the accusation of ‘But is it Art?’, and thus as technology develops at such an astonishing pace, photographic manipulation is the medium at the proverbial ‘coal face’ or cutting edge, at which you would expect to find artists operating.
My practice evolved dramatically in terms of depicting the political arts through the utilization of digital photo manipulation process during post graduate studies for a Masters in Visual Art at the Melbourne University (Victorian College of Arts). During this time I explored alternative digital media, installation and intervention, which have now become a significant feature of my contemporary work. Since commencing to exhibit his work, I have maintained an exhaustive schedule, exhibiting new works on each occasion.