CRYSTAL Z. CAMPBELL

Contact Information:

email: crystalzcampbell@gmail.com
website: www.crystalzcampbell.com

 

Artist Statement:

While waiting for a taxi in Valencia, Spain, I recall an older man aggressively beckoning me to come forward.  Donning a typical American t-shirt and jeans, I placed a finger on my pocket mace and waited impatiently for the taxi that would take me to my adopted home. Later, when an African American female friend came to visit, the former gesture was illuminated.  Walking towards my apartment building after a night out, my friend screamed.  I turned to see a twenty-something male ogling her from a broken-down white hatchback, whistling and using hand gestures to get her attention.  "She is not a prostitute!" I exclaimed. I watched in awe as the tiny hatchback left a hasty trail of pollution in its tracks. Later, this incident of mis-identification would prompt this series of two-dimensional works called "Living Fictions" investigating identity and context.

In the "Living Fictions" series, the vibrant mixed-media drawings series are hypothetical depictions of life.  Each scene features carefully appropriated versions of the human figure from popular culture magazines. For instance, the magazine PriorBaker was taken featured a controversial comedian known for his battle with multiple sclerosis, various drug addictions and excessive profanity.  Another featured a scantily clad exotic dancer sprawled upon a transparent tabletop with a shiny whip in hand.  Alternatively, with hand drawn props such as a mop, birthday cake and wings, the provocative exotic dancer emerges as a dainty housewife.  With materials ranging from gouache, watercolor, crayon, acrylic gel medium, watercolor, graphite, marker and colored pencil, I transform the identities of each magazine cut-out.  The inclusion of everyday materials in each scene provides a safe entry point considering the highly imaginative quality of these scenes.  Through these images, I aim to create a world that has been seen and constructed in fragments, but not wholly imagined.

In the "Living Fictions" series, I revert back to a childlike style to play upon the boundaries of truth and fiction.  To prepare for these works, I study the characters of my own life.  I closely observe people in their surroundings, a young daughter who believes anything that can be imagined is possible, a male college student observing the loss of a mother, a sixty something daughter deciding on the fate of her aging parent, and a mother and father whose children have left home.  I watch, observe and attempt to document the essence of these potential shifts in identity. These intuitive, yet calculated manipulations of material and space reinforce the fluidity of identity and confront the contexts of everyday myths.  Using common objects and extracts from popular culture, I yearn to know how much of what is accepted as "truth" is merely a common fiction ingrained in our daily existence.




Ringers, 2006
20 x 30 inches, Mixed-Media



Yesterday (detail), 2006
9 x 12 inches, Mixed-Media



Take-Over, 2006
12 x 18 inches, Mixed-Media



PriorBaker, 2006
9 x 12 inches, Mixed-Media



TheChore, 2006
9 x 12 inches, Mixed-Media

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