Stussy Guest Artist Series: James Gallagher
The Stussy Fall 2011 collection includes a series of t-shirts by artist James Gallagher. Gallagher uses collage to investigate human form and personal identity. Piecing together images cut from discarded books, forgotten issues of National Geographicand the occasional vintage sex-manual, Gallagher creates stark and provocative scenes that reflect the world around him.Gallagher’s art has been shown in galleries around the world. He has recently curated a series of exhibitions showcasing contemporary collage entitled Cutters (Brooklyn, New York 2009, Berlin, Germany 2010 and Cork, Ireland 2011) and is editing a related book to be published by Gestalten in 2011. Gallagher’s art has been featured in magazines such as Arkitip, Juxtapoz, Elephant, Cent, NYArts, Twill and Lines & Shapes. His images have appeared in numerous books including American Illustration, Communication Arts and a variety of Die Gestalten Publications. The Italian independent publisher Cura.Books is set to release Cutter: the Work of James Gallagher in 2011.
Gallagher earned a BFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York City. In addition to creating art, Gallagher is a Creative Director for a marketing firm and an Instructor at Parsons the New School for Design. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three kids.
I went to school for illustration and I kind of specialized in print making. When I graduated from college I had a baby at home and I had to get illustrations done on a quick deadline. I needed to go to a print shop to do it. In, like, a moment of panic I started cutting out my prints and piecing them together for the new illustration. Basically I kind of fell in love with the cutting and pasting and the print making kind of fell by the wayside. I became really interested in the collage aspect.
You know, originally I was just working with the silhouettes and I became very interested in breaking it down to the very simple shape. Over time I started introducing source material for the graphic imagery into it, into those shapes or the figures. I’ve left out a couple of key body parts which are mostly the face. The face on a figure kind of draws your attention a little too much to who the person is.
Some people really think that they’re beautiful and kind of pretty and delicate. Other people think they’re very harsh and, you know, evil. I think removing a face is pretty, it says a lot about the viewer, their reaction to it. They can put an ugly spin on it or a beautiful spin on it.
Over the years I have become slightly obsessed with collecting old vintage magazines, books. You know, I’m looking for a kind of weathered, yellowed paper. When I find a book that’s like tearing at the seams and the pages are just kind of deteriorating and about to fall apart that’s the book that I pick up off the street. In Brooklyn there’s a lot of boxes on the street that are just like free books. Nobody in the world would take those except for me.
I think collage is kind of like a medium that’s very of the moment. I think there’s so much imagery going on right now and it’s kind of we’re at a place where printed material is kind of, people are saying “oh, print is dead.” We’re grabbing all this print and creating something special out of it as digital is, you know, looming.