Category:BiographiesPaper way and that no one isreally
Category:BiographiesPaper Title:Todd Gray: Iconographic PhotographyText:Todd Gray: Iconographic PhotographyThe subjective nature presented in Todd Grays photographs appears toreflect the upbringings of the artist himself. In his photograph entitledAnti-Euro, Gray studied the idea of being a floating entity. He attemptsto reveal the notion that all people are mixed in some way and that no one isreally pure black or pure white. He conceived the notion of creating his ownmythology after reading influential books. Gray states, I would read Greekand African mythology books and try to navigate between the two. I thought Idcreate my own culture (Philip, Los Angeles Times, January 1997). Graysother piece entitled, Boxer punching buildings, reveals aspects of hisfrustration and disturbance toward society.
The piece is composed of images ofan African American boxer throwing a punch at a large corporate building. Hepresented it as a series of posters that were placed throughout the city to beviewed by the public. During lecture, he explained that the poster was ametaphor of classic slavery versus the corporate conglomerates of society. Grayexplains, I was thinking about the gladiators of the past, dark people whohad to fight against domination. The same system seemed to be intact (Philip,Los Angeles Times).As most identify Gray as being the ex-photographer of Michael Jackson, hisattempts and success to step into the realm of fine art was mainly due toexpressing his emotions.
Gray states, It was important to show that I coulddo both fine and commercial art and keep the integrity. Its like blacks andother minorities share with women, that weve got to work twice as hard to gethalf as far (Philip, Los Angeles Times).As Gray found himself becoming immersed in commercial arts, he returned tothe school where he received his undergraduate degree to recommit himselfto art.
It was there that he found his new centerpiece for his artwork and a newperception of the innocent. His interest on Disney characters and toys derivedfrom an observation that cartoons and popular culture influenced people.According to Hunter Drohojowska Philip, He soon found himself viewing theubiquitousness of seemingly innocent cartoon characters as a form of culturalimperialism (Los Angeles Times).During the past eight or so years, Gray devoted most of his time toinvestigate the ideas of what forms our thinking, or rather, what informs ourculture to think a certain way. His study began with the iconography ofcharacters that are noticed and identified by everyone in this world, Disneycharacters. His portrayal of simple and lovable cartoon characters seem totransform into intimidating life size portraits of powerhouses. At lecture, Graydiscussed the symbolism of various icons; Scrooge was reminiscent to the typicalindustrialist, overpowering and demanding; Goofy was similar to a homeboy, orcould also be identified as a proletariat, a worker; Daisy Duck is similar tothe feminist type, dominant and governing, demanding Daffy (representing men)around.
According to Marilu Knodes article, she writes Each of these areactive, recognizable slaves to a commercialized stereotype, with Gray pushingtheir innocent syntax into a twisted realm of cultural monster (Knode,Abracapocus: Goofy and Sex Looking For God). It seems that the primary intentionof Grays utilization of characters is to point out how overpowering simplelittle characters can be. The idea of Gray photographing the silhouette of thesecuddly characters and presenting them as human size was primarily to reveal adifferent aspect that may not normally be seen.The impact of Grays photographs evokes much criticism as well as praiseamong viewers. Though some may not find his work meaningful, his art proves tobecome a cultural context of society.
Though his artwork may not seem veryaesthetically pleasing or fit the typical description of art, Graysartwork attempts to do something that many others do not, that is to study theinfluences of our culture from society. Gray captures the ordinary and revealsthe extraordinary; he searches beneath the faade of our cultural framework andre-presents them through his perception. Grays work may have served as anemotional outlet for himself as well as an informative presentation to hisaudience and viewers, namely anyone who sees his work. I believe the primaryintention of the pictures being life size was that it gave the subject in theimage a different aura.
Subjectively speaking, if I viewed Goofy as being anysmaller, I would mainly reference it to the cartoons instead of any other socialcontext. By the grand scale of the image along with the black and whitesilhouette, I mainly view it as overpowering and lifelike.In retrospect, one question I would have formulated for Todd Gray, before thesession had ended, is if he had received hostile reactions from viewers afterthey view his work.
Also, I would ask whether or not his work may have differenthad he grew up in the slums with a lower class family. I question whethercreativity is innate or whether it depends on how and what type of environment aperson is nurtured. It would have been nice to hear his theory on this subjectmatter.Biographies