It’s no surprise that many artists derive inspiration from the ever-changing world around them. Saturday’s talk proved just that as Matt Best, David Borawski, Rashmi Talpade, Margaret Vaughan, and Charlie Cunningham explained the politically driven concepts and ideals their recent art portrays.
Talpade began by explaining her adaption of Trump’s wall, composed of the years most outrageous and ridiculous political tweets and headlines. As elucidated by the artists, her piece as well as Matt Best’s interpretation of rectums centered round Trump’s mouth, and Margaret Vaughan’s Jared Kushner series were all meant to bluntly criticize and illustrate the wrong doings of specific politicians. David Borawski, however expressed that while his art was not as forward so to speak as Rashmi’s, he used the same corruptions for inspiration. He prefers going for a more timeless angle, straying away from Trump in particular and focusing on prevalent themes and issues in American Government. He feels strongly about creating political work, which he has been doing for years. Many of the other artists then highlighted the fact that they aren’t partial to do doing such pieces. This in turn sparked a perfectly raw conversation about the necessity of artists to present current day issues in their work especially when it comes to such distressful times as these.
A then critical turning point in the talk arose when an audience member asked if anyone got inspiration from more delightful things. Matt Best pointed to his Madonna collages on the wall and explained her significance in helping him cope with struggles as a young gay male trying to identify himself. Best was inspired to portray his idol in a way that showed the beautiful impact an icon like her can have on the world. This pivot opened the conversation to a new topic; both the selective process of subject matter, and the external process of creating a physical piece of art. Cunningham, sculptor extraordinaire and creator of the grotesquely adorable Trump Urinal Cake, walked us through molding and mass-producing his figureheads. Vaughan too explained her process, laughing while she proclaimed herself a “mess” who often finds her self using a hunting knife as opposed to refined X-Acto knifes and precision tools. The artists gave brilliant insight on how they keep their art and creative process unique to them.
Overall the talk remained inviting and light while touching base on the critical issues of today. The audience was encouraged to ask questions, in addition to the moving points of conversation conveyed by Melanie. All 5 artists were given a chance to elaborate on their work and process while hearing others’ thoughts and opinions. Informing, insightful, and exciting the event was a complete success, and wonderful experience to be a part of.