The Daily Artist: From Underwhelm to Inspiration: The Power of Deconstruction

The Daily Artist: From Underwhelm to Inspiration: The Power of Deconstruction

I remember feeling quite underwhelmed during my time in literary theory class back in college, until one class where my professor introduced the topic of deconstruction. In that moment, something clicked, and the professor's ability to simplify the concept made it accessible to all of us. It was a genuine "aha!" moment that completely transformed my understanding and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

I can still vividly recall a particular class when my professor used Gregory Maguire's novel "Wicked" as an example of deconstruction. At the time, I hadn't yet read the book, but the way she described it piqued my curiosity. "Wicked" took the familiar story of the Wizard of Oz and turned it on its head, presenting the narrative from the perspective of the Wicked Witch. It was a fresh and unconventional approach that resonated deeply with me. I absorbed so much of that class and catalogued it in my psyche.

I relish in moments when people point out an error or inconsistency in one of my pop art pieces that I've remixed. I have a distinct memory of a festival where I had proudly displayed a painting I had created, a remix of the Clash's iconic album cover for "London Calling."

A gentleman with an English accent approached my artwork and promptly chastised me for not spelling the word "London" correctly. With great calm, I pointed out that the letter "o" was indeed present in my painting, albeit not in its expected place. The man sat there in stunned silence. I couldn't help but revel in that moment. It was a weird, small victory that fueled me on some bizarre level. I wanted more.

In general, I find immense joy in working on pieces that remix existing elements. Altering expressions, changing vantage points, and reimagining compositions are all part of the process that brings me immense satisfaction. Drawing inspiration from popular culture adds an extra layer of intrigue to the experience. When viewers encounter my work, their memories of the original piece come into play, creating a playful interaction between the familiar and the new. I take great pleasure in the thought that my art might inspire someone to search for the original work or engage in a dialogue about creativity and interpretation. It's a continuous source of amusement and fulfillment for me.

When it comes to portraiture, I am particularly captivated by the notion of transforming and manipulating facial features while still capturing the essence and identity of the subject. This fascination has only grown stronger in an era where digital technologies blur the line between reality and artifice. The rise of deepfakes challenges our perceptions of authenticity and truth, making the exploration of portraiture even more intriguing. Not that I attempt any kind of realism, but playing with the ideas of what makes something’s essence is extremely satisfying.

It's funny how ideas can bloom in unexpected places. My journey through the intricacies of literary theory, in a class I initially approached with reluctance, unexpectedly led me to discover the power of deconstruction and the sheer joy of remixing existing narratives and artworks. This discovery has allowed me to playfully engage with popular culture, challenge conventional perspectives, and push the boundaries of creativity. The experience definitely taught me to always be open to being enriched creatively from the most unexpected places. It’s kept me curious, and everyday I tell life to bring it!

-Sergio Santos