Art

Arts Mashing with Chris Sallquist

Photographs can be morphed and changed to reveal a new “story” that isn’t obviously there—something unseen.

Interview by Citizen Brooklyn - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Art by Chris Sallquist
Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Citizen Brooklyn: Arts Mashing, can you tell us a bit about the process? How you create your compositions?

The process is pretty simple and organic. I look through a magazine until I find an interesting shape that feels like it could be transformative when combined with another image. It could be the hemline of a dress or a model’s silhouette, or even a shadow. Then I search for a second image that I’ll mash with the first one. Typically, the second image features a person’s face or profile. I’ll place the first image over the second to see what kind of composition emerges. From there it’s trial and error. A lot of times the results aren’t what I hoped for, but you have to stick with it and try a bunch of combinations. In the end a composition almost always emerges that I get excited about, but sometimes it can hours or even days.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: How do you select the individual elements therein?

I look for images that contain shapes, colors, lighting and people that stand out somehow. But they have to do more than stand out to the eye, they need to be able to morph into an entirely different element that, when combined with another image, will create a new object or person or scenario. Sometimes I’ll find an image that is gorgeous, but it doesn’t have that ability to be transformed. For example, maybe it’s a photo of a model floating in a pool of still, black water. It’s stunning, but the composition may not contain any elements that I can use. But on the other hand, if there’s an image of a model in water that’s surrounded by ripples, then I might be able to tear away the ripples and mash them with a different photo. Which becomes a transformational layer. Sometimes when I’ve looked through a magazine too many times I turn it upside down and look at it from back to front. Almost always, images and shapes will emerge that I didn’t see before.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: Finally how do you shoot and edit those compositions? What equipment and software do you use?

I shoot everything on my iPhone 5s, using the system camera. I don’t use special lighting, typically just a floor lamp. In fact, I shoot the majority of my work while watching TV. I might shoot 10 to 15 different photos per composition, repositioning and shifting each individual photo until the right version emerges. Mostly, two or three will work out, and the rest get deleted. I’ve also got thousands of compositions that include my thumb while holding the pages to shoot them.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Finally, I edit the compositions using Snapseed on my iPhone. No two photos are ever alike, so I don’t have pre-set filters or settings. What filters I use depend on the color and lighting of the altered the photograph, and the mood I’m trying to create.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: In your artist’s statement you mention hidden stories behind a facade can you expand on this a bit?

Photographs can be morphed and changed to reveal a new “story” that isn’t obviously there—something unseen. For example, adding a torn image of a fur to a photo of a model on a beach creates a totally different image, or story, than what the original photograph communicates. When you add or remove different aspects of a photograph you change it entirely. Hidden stories emerge.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: Is this particularly relevant to fashion mags and the industry? If not, why fashion magazines specifically?

I use fashion magazines because they contain stunning photography of people, objects and scenes. I do use other kinds of publications like news or outdoor magazines, but fashion photography is extraordinarily visual and artistic.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: There is no one single feeling throughout your work, pieces range from disturbingly serious to flirtaceously comical. What results in this variety? Or, rather, how do you choose the tone of a certain piece as opposed to another?

That’s a function of the variety of source material I use to create my images, and what catches my eye. There is a high degree of serendipity and chance in my work. Whether a composition feels dark or comical depends on what gets revealed when I transform two unique images.

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

CBK: Although they are inanimate at the time you shoot them, do you still consider your subjects to be human?

I guess I think of them as characters of the subconscious. Human, but someone you’d encounter in a dream (or nightmare), not on the street. I’m very drawn to mythology, so perhaps that has influenced me in ways that I’m not even aware.

 

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

Photo © Chris Sallquist

2 Responses to “Arts Mashing with Chris Sallquist”

  1. gaya says:

    This is very interesting. I love the use of collage. Smart.

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