As an artist living and working in Manhattan, it comes as no surprise to me that my work is varied and has many influences, much in the same way that an urban environment is in a constant process of renewal and decay. My work has evolved from performances where entertainment and survivalist techniques collided including lawless gladiator battles, photos of me posed with wrecked and abandoned cars and exercises in gun-making all the way through to in-depth explorations of various peculiar or overlooked artifacts of contemporary consumer culture.
Included in these investigations are photographic sequences of snacks cakes carved into various logos and designs to accentuate their fantastic artificial colors. Also a series highlighting the beautiful colors of cough syrups and mouthwashes. Other projects related to these are an exhaustive photo collection and re-presentation of toothpastes from around the world. A definitive photo collection of lower Manhattan payphones, photos of psychedelically colored oil slicks from the streets of Chinatown, an extended set of hyper-real photos of mutant goldfish also from Chinatown, and then a photo project on damselfish collected from all over the world, followed by a digression into surfboard fabrication in order to decorate the boards with my fish photos, just to name a few of the larger bodies of work.
Typically I work on several projects at once.I’m always collecting things for each project over many years and adding to each collection constantly re-working and re-doing themes/ideas and concepts as I change or the things around me change.
Lately my work has become more about my own personal process of interpreting and re-structuring the imagery that surrounds my life, rather than the collecting part. The latest works are collages/assemblage of all the different images I have taken or made over the years including my own editorial photographic jobs mixed with advertisements, TV and anything /everything that is part of my visual experience.
- Dirk Westphal