Pasticcio, Hip Hop and Andy Warhol

We recently signed a new artist to a limited edition publishing agreement. Her name is Peggy Weiss, and her work is unique among our collection of artists. It’s a new, digital version of pasticcio. In the art world, the pasticcio (in French, pastiche) is a composition made from a selection of different works.

Peggy utilizes snapshots and deconstructs and reassembles them into convincing works of art, applying—as she goes—her own personal touches with the broad range of instruments available to the digital artist today, such as a mac, networked to a scanner and digital tablet, Photoshop, and various other imaging tools.

Peggy’s take on the pasticcio is one of the most unique we’ve seen, slightly edgy, at times haunting, and always familiar lyrical renditions of past and narrative future. We don’t see many submissions from artists working in pastiche, so when we found an artist in our own backyard (Austin, TX), making compelling pasticcio, we were thrilled to sign her.

Recycling Copies

Some critics find pasticcio dangerous, viewing it as a force that seeks to negate the traditional/ancient genres of art. Why? Put simply: painters paint; Sculptors sculpt. A traditional artist is not likely to learn/use a host of new digital tools in order to create art, when a paintbrush and canvas suffice. Moreover, the traditionalists are troubled by pasticcio’s use of existing images or source material to create new, original artwork. We think it’s ironic the “fine arts”—anchored in the strictest traditional parameters—are the last to embrace the dominant paradigm of this age: recycling copies of the familiar to create a new original. This is one definition of hyperrealism. Who do we thank for this brave new world? Hip Hop and Andy Warhol.

Hip Hop and Warhol

In the mid-1970s, a DJ first used two turntables to create new music, blending different existing sourced material, recorded on vinyl records. The New York subculture Hip Hop was born. The originality comes in the combination or the blending of original sourced material rather than creating what is completely new. This New York subculture is now the mainstream. Look at popular music today. You’ll hear previously recorded beats, bass-lines and melodic hooks from past familiar songs, recycled to create a new release. First, because the sourced material has merit (meaning it’s good). Second, because the familiarity of the material creates endearment in the audience. Isn’t this what Andy Warhol did? Recycling copies of the familiar to create a new reality. And the kids go wild. . .

Three Ways to Look at Art

Some people may say there is no art working with copies. We disagree. But then again we are the largest fine art limited edition publisher, printmaker and artisan framer in the world. Our specialty is selling copies of original sourced material. What is art anyway? First, I’ve read art, along with science and philosophy, seeks to order (meaning make sense of) chaos. Second, others might say (new) art seeks to destroy the dominant artistic paradigms or conventions of the past. Third, for many of our customers, art is something to purchase because it goes with their sofa. If you are in the latter referenced group (or any combination of the three for that matter), you might consider our new pasticcio artist, Peggy Weiss. She’s current, just edgy enough, and her artwork would look great over your sofa!

Comments are closed.