The Pathetic Start of It All: Mixed Media

Artist Statement

I’m inspired by images from vintage news and advertising. The images pay homage to the personal impact of childhood memories, watching the news on television that announced weekly body counts in Vietnam, 60s rock, kidnappings, assassinations, art happenings, riots, protests, and Mr. Clean.

“The Pathetic Start of It All” is selected from my image-making during the past five years. My narratives in this series address loneliness, isolation, longing, loss, and the things we do when we are alone. Solitary furnishings, out-of-place inanimate objects, products, food, and slivers of figures either entering or leaving a scene are common themes. The bright colors and familiar objects disguise the underbelly of domesticity, the cover-up of uneasiness.

I like using windows as a pathway in my artwork. On a most basic and compositional level, the windows allow me to have a drawing-within-a-drawing. The pathways that my windows create allow the viewer to observe goings-on outside the windows, and how these interact with the story inside the window—the inside where the viewer of the piece becomes a participant. There is always someone, somewhere, watching or looking.

I begin my artworks with no plan in mind. Almost all pieces are sized 32”x40”, vertical or horizontal, on heavy-weight museum rag board. I typically start with a central image, often a piece of furniture or a cropped figure, and then work supporting images and complimentary colors around it to create a narrative. I work the initial image to its completed state before creating the surrounding images or the scene outside of my window. My source materials come from a vast amount of saved images, from years spent acquiring vintage magazines and tearing them apart and cataloguing for future use. The reasoning in selecting the anchoring image within the piece is purely random. However, once I begin rendering the anchor image into its final form, I begin to think out the entire piece. I base those choices on implication and compatibility. I never place a supporting object in for no reason. Every object must have a reason to be there or I don’t incorporate it.

Doug SmockDoug Smock earned his BFA in printmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art Design. He studied under master printer Terry Tolman of the Tamarind Institute and Gemini GEL. Doug also worked with pop artist Allan D’Arcangelo. Upon moving back to his native Philadelphia, Doug worked for a global publisher as a creative director. His illustrations have appeared in Playboy and The Atlantic, among other publications. He currently works as a creative consultant and adjunct professor of art at Montgomery County Community College. He is represented by Gravers Lane Gallery of Philadelphia, where a solo exhibition of his recent work was on display through June 15, 2017.