The Daily Rambling Artist: Frames of Manipulation: Dating Lesson Learned

The Daily Rambling Artist: Frames of Manipulation - Dating Lesson Learned

Throughout my art journey, I've noticed something cool: individuals acquiring my pop-art portraits without a clue about the depicted subjects. I view this as a compliment to the work. It's awesome when the essence of a portrait transcends the boundaries of recognition.

I remember one time when a girlfriend sought my opinion on her photography. I offered my honest assessment: technically sound photographs, crisply depicting their subjects, but devoid of a deeper narrative. My response left her dissatisfied; she lobbied for an expanded critique.

Photography, an art often regarded as a means of capturing reality, is paradoxically one of the most cunning manipulators of reality. This dawned upon me quickly as I delved into the world of image-making. The act of encasing fragments of our world within the confines of a rectangular or square frame is an act of artful manipulation.

The world of documentary photography is a great example—an exemplary yet highly manipulative genre. When the expression is confined to those four corners, the artist's contemplation expands. Deliberation commences on what to imbue within—what fragments of information to curate, what elements to include or omit, and the collective narrative they conjure.

The images my ex-girlfriend displayed were of flowers and tombstones—unaccompanied by any narrative context, a simple “look” was present. No fault lies in this simplicity; I was stating what I saw. The exchange reminds me of my initial aversion to painting pop art and pop portraits. I thought back to the instance with my ex a lot, and found myself embodying the principles I always adhered to in photography for the purposes of making pop art.

I was never a photographer interested in capturing surface. Likewise, I’ve never been a painter fixated on replication. My pop-art portraits are deliberate, often playful manipulations of existing entities.

The most important thing I’ve learned through this stream of artistic reflection is that I shouldn't critiques other people's art. This new heartfelt belief is especially true if it’s the work of someone I’m dating.

-Sergio Santos