Modified masterpieces...

by - Tuesday, August 25, 2020

 To my mind, one does not put oneself in place of the past, one only adds a new link. – Paul Cézanne

When I was five, I recall an ominous painting framed in gold, covering a quarter of the living room. It was of a massive ship sailing on a stormy ocean. Malachite, aquamarine, and midnight blue colors accented foaming waters and billowing sails lending depth, movement, and grandeur. The painting scared me. It took up the whole wall behind the sofa, propped almost as high as the apartment ceiling. Maybe if it had Mr. Rogers at the helm, I would have sat on the couch instead of on the floor a foot away from the television watching Sesame Street.

Oil and Water

Enter Goodwill or your local thrift store, and many times you find dusty bucolic landscape art in solemn anticipation of a new collector. The colors muted and muddy, though classic and vaguely reminiscent, are not particularly poised for today's modern, uncluttered decor. But what if these pieces could be modified, unwanted artwork altered to command attention and bridge the divide between classic and pop art with a surreal twist? This is the surprising lucrative result of a New York-based artist's obsession. Meet Dave Pollot, thrift store master extraordinaire.

What started as a joke [between Pollot and his wife] led to a bigger question:  Could I paint something funny or nostalgic into an unwanted painting, and without changing the aesthetic, change the meaning and make it wanted again?  Once I started down a path to answer that question, I found that it captured my attention more than anything I'd done in the past. ~ Dave Pollot

All Work and No Play

The joke wound up changing his life. With an undergraduate degree in computer science, Pollot spent fifteen years of his early career writing software for a living. Painting was something he only did casually until repurposing thrift art in 2012 consumed his operative attention. Painting elements of pop culture from the movies and video games of his youth on abandoned art from the thrift stores mirrored many of the thoughts and experiences about balancing creativity and life. His ingenuity has amassed an impressive following on social media, and fans can shadow his prolific and philanthropic deeds on Instagram and Facebook.

Comedy of Tragedy

Dry Run

Pattern Recognition

Trigonometry II

Off Balance

I've always loved the idea that art is deeply personal. I'm telling my own story with each piece, but every one is a little bit like a mirror, reflecting it's meaning back to the viewer through his or her individual perception.  More generally speaking however, there are a number of recurring questions and ideas that my work often deals with.  I think that my body of work has challenged the idea that any one piece of artwork is without a place, especially if it can be retrofitted to reflect a more culturally relevant set of ideas. It's also questioned the idea of who (generationally and otherwise) can claim ownership of the pop culture of a given time period – it's sought to introduce a younger audience to older artistic styles, and a potentially older audience to a broader set of pop culture.

Modified masterpieces - the ultimate repurpose and recycle for the contemporary collector... xoxo-Sonya

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