EK Causes: Derek Gores Collage Europe!

Derek Gores, previously featured August 2010 and interviewed March 2011, and an official EK Top 100 (2010) selection is back, and badder than ever.  He’s also smack in the middle of a new project that we are officially endorsing!

FUNDRAISING LINK: www.indiegogo.com/Recycled-Collage-Europe

What have you been up to since our last interview?

Making pretty pictures mostly, playing legos with my kids, assorted art adventures in some new galleries on the West coast and now one in Germany. I created the album cover collage for the new Bess Rogers CD. Also designed some tour shirts for Van Halen! And staged an angry ice cream mob protest, demanding an ice cream shop in my local arts district. It hasn’t worked yet, but I did come away from the event with a picket sign I made showing Spock with an ice cream cone perched perfectly in his hand while showing the Vulcan sign. So that’s a positive.

Also, I opened a gallery and studio. EGAD! Art Lab in Melbourne, FL. We’ve put on some fun shows including ‘Pollen8’, a collaboration of artists and floral designers. ‘DataMoshing’ started with a glitch art inspiration, and we took the idea to mean just the combining of two sources of information – a dialogue. In that show we had painting and digital glitch and then even the performance of a couple songs by Places Please! Theatre Company’s actors. They were rehearsing “The Last 5 Years” and I sure loved how the live performance brought the art out into the room. This kind of stuff I call a mingling of the senses and it is just the way I think. Quite often I have a show idea or title first and then work backwards to the art.  More on EGAD! Art Lab here: www.EGADartlab.com  and Places, Please! Theatre Company here: www.placesplease.org

Finally, I’ll be in the ‘Synergy’ show at Spoke Art in San Francisco, opening May 4 and the ‘Wild at Heart’ show at Thinkspace in LA opening May 26.

Experimental Money Making
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas, 2011

How has your work, and more importantly, the philosophy behind your work evolved in the past year?

I’ve realized that ‘fierce’ is my subject. The mystery and strength and the story in the eyes of the individual women in my figurative pieces, is my subject. Early on I wasn’t sure how I reconciled the study of these beautiful women, I was wary anyway- never wanting to objectify, though I do believe I have always studied with utmost respect for that individual muse. But I’ve been thrilled and encouraged at the response to the art. Now I look for this topic all around me, in books and art, in the eyes of my most favorite people.  I think a few years ago my daydreams were from my point of view, then I spent a year noticing from the audience’s point of view, and maybe now I’m focused in a new way on the subject from the inside out. Ah, the Muse. (Stop me if you’ve heard this story before…)

Where do you think you’re headed, in regards to subject matter, style, etc.

I’m playing with a couple things right now. One is using fewer pieces of paper and playing with more transparency and confusing space. An example of that would be ‘Full Volume’, which was out at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento. And then another push I’ve been working toward is a bit more of a suggested narrative, or at least a more complex scene. I’ve been doing some elaborate photo shoots with multiple models and dizzying details in the picture. A bit like‘Bar at the Folies Bergères’ by Edouard Manet. This lets me get lost in ambiguous spaces and tensions that feel great on the eyes. I have some series percolating too. Where a show might consist of several pieces depicting one night. Surely I’ll work with a shoe designer one of these days too.

Every Hour, Every Breath Has Come to This<
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas, 2012

Liberate and Fascinate
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas, 2011

What is this new crowdfunding project you’ve started?  Please tell us about it’s history and purpose.

Things have gotten pretty crazy the last year or so, with inquiries almost daily from collectors, art directors and many young artists overseas- so I launched my “Recycled Collage Europe!” project on Indiegogo.com, with three things in mind.  First, I want to introduce my work to Europe in person- the UK and Paris for starters.  Secondly, I want to hold a workshop for some of these young art students who’ve written to me but don’t have the means to come to me. So I’ll be doing just that at Stockton Sixth Form College in Stockton-on-Tees, UK. And finally, I want to make new art, ten pieces at least, inspired by the trip, the people I meet, and the stories that are created in each city along the way. My art can hold a bunch of information, and feel like elapsed time instead of a frozen moment- so this ought to be a fun body of work.

What are you expecting to learn from your trip across the pond, and what are you hoping to leave with the students?

I’ll certainly devour the Musee’ d’Orsay, and a Natasha Law exhibit in London on the Official side of art, and mix in there all the people I meet. Working on a live demo or talk or some small semi-spontaneous displays while there—For the students, I’ll enjoy introducing them to working with found objects. Embracing the history that comes in each scrap of paper, adding new meaning or distraction to the art. I work very quickly, both hands at once sometimes. I hope to help them become more intuitive. In the collage work, like to find all my edges within the piece of ripped paper, but never using pictures of the object I’m creating. That alone is fun to watch artists get their mind around.

You are one of our artists in Empty Kingdom’s very first art show at the end of this year, any hint as to what you have up your sleeves for the show? 

Fierce 2.0 ought to be on fire about that moment in December.

Thank you Derek!

*Agan, Please support Derek’s project, which is officially endorsed by Empty Kingdom!  We believe it’s really worthwhile and the perks are cool!: http://www.indiegogo.com/Recycled-Collage-Europe?a=512238

Full Volume (detail)
36″ x 36″ collage on canvas, 2012

Always in Fashion
24″ x 24″ collage on canvas