26 Feb 2020—15 Mar
“Industry Plants” is a term used by bleeding-heart-purist music fans as a way to criticize the legitimacy of a recording artist’s creative output. Usually it implies that the artist has compromised their vision, trend-hopped, or been trained and planted by record company conglomerates to maintain palatability just long enough make money for stakeholders.
This term reminds me of a Facebook post I encountered by an ex forklift mechanic named Joel. Joel uploaded 96 photographs of vegetables that he had processed through every filter in Photoshop. He called the collection; “Playing with my food: Derivative Photographic Manipulations of Common Subjects”. With it he posted his thesis in manifesto form – confessing that he had never understood abstract art whatsoever, saying that often it “hurt [his] eyes” and “insulted [his] intelligence”.
But then; “…something happened a number of years ago that changed the way I think about abstract art. I still don’t understand a lot of it but this started me on a path that has brought me here today”.
He had begun warping his extensive index of vegetable photographs – and in doing so had discovered a serious vessel for artistic expression.
He continues, “I will probably never make a dime off of these. I don’t know how many people will even take the time to look at them. But I have gotten a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction doing these and I’d like to share them with you. You don’t have to like all of them but I’ll bet you’ll like a lot of them.”
I really respect Joel’s unwillingness to compromise his vision. I have tried to embed his approach within my own process. I made this work with the intention of earning his respect.
Documentation by Jordan Halsall
Images courtesy of Christopher Madden