BLISSED OUT OF SIGHT AND MIND

BLISSED OUT OF SIGHT AND MIND…...

FALL INTO WINTER…..

Eric Stoner: Notes on Artistic Process for SENSE & SENSIBILITY ll.  Mt SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE. FALL 2013

This ongoing body of work was originally developed over the course of 5 years with no intention of exhibiting. My reasons for creating these works in private were to allow myself the time and space to perfect a system that conveyed a level of honesty and vulnerability in my art without any outside opinion influencing or guiding my process. In other words, I set out to master my own challenge of authenticity with no expectations or attachment to outcome or public approval.  The creative process and craftsmanship are what I hold most dear and each new piece challenges me technically and conceptually.  The process of making the work also satisfies me on variety emotional levels in ways that are very therapeutic.

In the pursuit of developing this body of work that is currently on exhibit, many previous works have been dismantled in order to re-appropriate the materials, given away as gifts to the people that inspired them, or in one instance literally eaten away by rats in garage where it was stored and forgotten about for 2 years. This work in particular is now a new opportunity to explore new themes and metaphors of transformation, decay, and growth. That is how my works develop; organically, and over several months. In the case of the work where the rats “re-appropriated” the materials into their nests, several years. I’ve never bound myself to a timeline to complete a piece. I’ve often let them sit for long periods of time unfinished, not knowing what experiences will give me the inspiration to complete the piece.

The materials I use to create my art come from many sources, different places and time periods. These works started as a way to piece together chapters of my life and periods of personal growth. They are made from my archive of family photographs, original artworks, old journals and letters from friends, vintage album covers and art catalogs of musicians and artists, collections of antique postcards from my travels, magazines, literature and anything else that inspired the overall theme and general color scheme.  I’m much more concerned with forming content in the work, than the archival quality of the materials that comprise them.  As a result sections appear aged beyond their years, but it’s a quality I enjoy.

This archive of images collected over a life time became my primary palette.  Anything else I needed to complete the work would be fabricated from various materials or sought out in used bookstores, newsstands, antique shops and garage sales. The thousands of residual scraps from the dissected images used to form the artworks are saved and added to fill in details and unify color schemes. The use of finishing nails and carpet tacks was an alternative to the amount of messy adhesives it would have taken to secure so many things in place, particularly the hundreds of smaller scraps.

The decision to sacrifice so many personal items for the sake of making art comes from a desire to create an intense level of realism that was a reflection of my life experiences. There is an immediacy to collage that allows me to go deeper into the content and themes I want to develop rather than drawing or painting them. Therefore, the re-appropriation of others artwork, contemporary or historical, is a major component of my work.  I pay tribute to other’s works by composing them into the context of my own personal themes. Some of these works are easily identifiable. There are many images from the Northern European masters such as Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch, whom I’ve always held in the highest regard as artists and visionaries. My work attempts to recreate similar levels of detail, rich imagery, layers of symbolism, iconography, and universally recognizable archetypes. Contemporary artists that may not be as recognizable hold the same level of importance and intermingle with the old masters to form the bigger picture in these worlds.

My artwork gratuitously incorporates religious iconography throughout. However, I am not a religious person. The choice to use so much of this type of imagery is purely aesthetic, and intended to represent archetypes on a secular level with a general recognition of my own spirituality outside of any religious dogma. The personal nature of my work deals primarily with significant relationships that have developed throughout the course my life; family bonds, friendships and romantic connections.  For example, Adam and Eve represent male & female relationships.  The angels and demons represent the dual influences that have sway over ones life. These and many of symbols represent the challenges and temptations, rewards and consequences of all the choices we are faced with and decisions we make. 

These works of art are also intended to bring order to the chaos in my “personal universe” in a fun, positive and productive way, hence the recurring cosmic themes and self deprecating humor that permeates the body of work among the more serious themes. They are essentially meditations that allow me to connect people, events, and time periods and to create balance, emotional counterpoints, and closure on the past as I grow as person into an unknown future. I often use self portraits in my work. This is a way for me to throw myself into the chaos while standing back to observe my past failures and successes as inseparable. Most importantly, they allow me to laugh at myself and at times recognize the futility of my attempts to control the outcome of situations and predict the future of my life (hindsight is 20/20).

Music is the final recurring theme in my art and I feel it is important for me to reference in this essay. As a musician of 30 years, the guitar has been a constant companion throughout my life. To this day I play an average of 2-4 hours a day. Music is a source of infinite creativity and inspiration. Writing and playing music has been a private pursuit and meditative practice more than an performance based art form. I’m a person who has lived my whole life with extreme synesthesia, experiencing sound and music as color, shapes and patterns, and vise versa. Because of this, I developed my approach to making art as a way to express the vast, complex emotions I feel and experience when I create music. The tactile experience of assembling these collages is inspired by the technical intricacies required to play my instrument. Both music and art are inseparable to me and constantly inform the other. The works on exhibit are in essence my greatest musical accomplishments. Visual symphonies that only I can hear, but I hope resonate with anyone who may tune into them.

In the pursuit of developing this body of work that is currently on exhibit, many previous works have been dismantled in order to re-appropriate the materials, given away as gifts to the people that inspired them, or in one instance literally eaten away by rats in garage where it was stored and forgotten about for 2 years. This work in particular is now a new opportunity to explore new themes and metaphors of transformation, decay, and growth. That is how my works develop; organically, and over several months. In the case of the work where the rats “re-appropriated” the materials into their nests, several years. I’ve never bound myself to a timeline to complete a piece. I’ve often let them sit for long periods of time unfinished, not knowing what experiences will give me the inspiration to complete the piece.

The materials I use to create my art come from many sources, different places and time periods. These works started as a way to piece together chapters of my life and periods of personal growth. They are made from my archive of family photographs, original artworks, old journals and letters from friends, vintage album covers and art catalogs of musicians and artists, collections of antique postcards from my travels, magazines, literature and anything else that inspired the overall theme and general color scheme.  I’m much more concerned with forming content in the work, than the archival quality of the materials that comprise them.  As a result sections appear aged beyond their years, but it’s a quality I enjoy.

This archive of images collected over a life time became my primary palette.  Anything else I needed to complete the work would be fabricated from various materials or sought out in used bookstores, newsstands, antique shops and garage sales. The thousands of residual scraps from the dissected images used to form the artworks are saved and added to fill in details and unify color schemes. The use of finishing nails and carpet tacks was an alternative to the amount of messy adhesives it would have taken to secure so many things in place, particularly the hundreds of smaller scraps.

The decision to sacrifice so many personal items for the sake of making art comes from a desire to create an intense level of realism that was a reflection of my life experiences. There is an immediacy to collage that allows me to go deeper into the content and themes I want to develop rather than drawing or painting them. Therefore, the re-appropriation of others artwork, contemporary or historical, is a major component of my work.  I pay tribute to other’s works by composing them into the context of my own personal themes. Some of these works are easily identifiable. There are many images from the Northern European masters such as Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch, whom I’ve always held in the highest regard as artists and visionaries. My work attempts to recreate similar levels of detail, rich imagery, layers of symbolism, iconography, and universally recognizable archetypes. Contemporary artists that may not be as recognizable hold the same level of importance and intermingle with the old masters to form the bigger picture in these worlds.

My artwork gratuitously incorporates religious iconography throughout. However, I am not a religious person. The choice to use so much of this type of imagery is purely aesthetic, and intended to represent archetypes on a secular level with a general recognition of my own spirituality outside of any religious dogma. The personal nature of my work deals primarily with significant relationships that have developed throughout the course my life; family bonds, friendships and romantic connections.  For example, Adam and Eve represent male & female relationships.  The angels and demons represent the dual influences that have sway over ones life. These and many of symbols represent the challenges and temptations, rewards and consequences of all the choices we are faced with and decisions we make. 

These works of art are also intended to bring order to the chaos in my “personal universe” in a fun, positive and productive way, hence the recurring cosmic themes and self deprecating humor that permeates the body of work among the more serious themes. They are essentially meditations that allow me to connect people, events, and time periods and to create balance, emotional counterpoints, and closure on the past as I grow as person into an unknown future. I often use self portraits in my work. This is a way for me to throw myself into the chaos while standing back to observe my past failures and successes as inseparable. Most importantly, they allow me to laugh at myself and at times recognize the futility of my attempts to control the outcome of situations and predict the future of my life (hindsight is 20/20).

Music is the final recurring theme in my art and I feel it is important for me to reference in this essay. As a musician of 30 years, the guitar has been a constant companion throughout my life. To this day I play an average of 2-4 hours a day. Music is a source of infinite creativity and inspiration. Writing and playing music has been a private pursuit and meditative practice more than an performance based art form. I’m a person who has lived my whole life with extreme synesthesia, experiencing sound and music as color, shapes and patterns, and vise versa. Because of this, I developed my approach to making art as a way to express the vast, complex emotions I feel and experience when I create music. The tactile experience of assembling these collages is inspired by the technical intricacies required to play my instrument. Both music and art are inseparable to me and constantly inform the other. The works on exhibit are in essence my greatest musical accomplishments. Visual symphonies that only I can hear, but I hope resonate with anyone who may tune into them.