© 2019 by Lisa Loudermilk

Now that trillions of photos are taken every year, how does an artist transcend photography's prosaic nature?   My approach breaks down and treats existing images like mosaic or puzzle pieces in grand-scale, magical scenes that do not exist.

 

This project began in late 2013 with just my own photos.  

After my first dozen or so digital assemblages, I still had 100's of interesting pictures that just didn't go together with any meaning.  I also realized I could never photograph enough images to support the many other composition ideas I had.  So now I also sift through 100,000's of photos in permitted archives for the rare image that 1) is gorgeous, 2) supports a motif or abstract idea, 3-7) has been knowingly offered up by selfless photographers who will let me basically tear down their image and obliterate whatever meaning it conveyed as a whole to be used as a tidbit in my own saleable creation.

In these nascent archives, it's usually like the Stone's lyric "You can't always get what you want/but if you try

sometimes/well, you just might find/you get what you need."  The compositions are finished puzzles from those vast yet constrained materials woven together with virtual alchemy. This work is more aligned with fantasy than surrealism since it has narrative and relational qualities that surrealism's often random juxtapositions do not address.  It also uncharacteristically isn't limited to one motif like geometric abstraction, pop art, nostalgia, impressionism, or animals drinking people drinks. One speck of image or an idea can inspire an entire scene that takes months to support and complete.  That's a delicious challenge and reward for an artist who long appreciated the technical refinement that a repeated subject enables, but felt once that "look" was defined, repeating its formula for variation wasn't exceptionally creative.

------

 More insights to come, including video of the artist at work.  Cutting to the punchline, you would see hours of me at the computer barely moving.  Often, it  would feature very slow, unrecognizable detail work like using the cursor to shave bits of painted sky background incorrectly painted onto an angel's leg at 400x magnification.    

My image research video might interest you more.  A typical feed would be twenty minutes of me scrolling, clicking, maybe getting excited, then sighing or cursing because there was just one little stipulation in the image's license prohibiting me to "significantly modify" an image I was planning to extract a tiny piece from, then reshape, recolor, and merge that tidbit with another for an incidental element in a grand composition. 

Instead of that soul-sucking wasted time, please click here instead to experience the finished scenes.