In our Crusade Supported Art program, we commission six photographers to make an image in an edition of 50, and we sell 50 shares. Shareholders receive an original, signed and numbered photograph from each of the six commissioned photographers. We have had two CSA cycles so far, and they have been a huge success. Photographer John Brinton Hogan's image (below) was part of the second round CSA. We asked him a few questions to let you get to know him a bit better.
Had you heard of an art CSA before? What were your impressions of the idea?
No. I was familiar with the concept with regard to farming, but not pertaining to art. Right away, though, it struck me as a good idea, and was happy to participate.
What about the program made you interested in being one of the participating artists?
Many of those who'd like to purchase contemporary art face the obstacle of price. The CSA seemed to me a democratizing force.
How has your experience been so far, and what else do you hope will come as a result of participating?
The experience has been rewarding, in that I'm able to connect with an audience I might not have been able to reach through my current network. I hope people can connect with the work they purchased, whether on an emotional or intellectual level; ideally both.
Please tell us about the piece you created and how it fits within your larger body of work?
From a practical standpoint, this project forced me to change my normal workflow when it came to creating the object itself.
Visual Aphasia, the body of work I've been producing for the last couple of years, has been comprised principally of mixed-media pieces, and their physical composition makes them impossible to replicate. The CSA was going to require a fairly substantial edition, and in order to create it I had to design an efficient process for producing the work.
For some background, construction of Visual Aphasia pieces involves various embellishment techniques which are performed by hand. The works start as somewhat straightforward documentary photographs of figures and equipment in landscapes, which are then transformed into otherworldly tableaus via software manipulation.
Once a print has been made, the human elements are "redacted" (see below) using various ingredients normally associated with lighthearted craft: glitter, gold leaf, holographic foils, etc., which by their nature require painstaking efforts both in application and handling.
For the CSA, I needed to formulate a system wherein I could deliver an edition that included the elements of the more complex Aphasia pieces, while still being practical from a time/cost standpoint. So, with a wink at Baldessari, I covered the figure of the Palo Verde Climber with a simple yellow dot, and created a glitter "paint" that could be applied in a just a couple of coats (image above). Hand-painting a small circle consumes less time than an intricate human figure, so, by employing a makeshift production line (last image below), I was able to deliver a picture that fits in well with other contemporaneous pieces.
Creating work in this manner allows me a small but meaningful tactile reward, which, with the demise of darkrooms, scanners, etc., I'd come to miss in my studio practice.
To view more of John's work, please visit his website.