Confronting the current challenge posed by eschatologically driven terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (IS) and their radicalization of youth around the world, this work explores the ways in which popular and news media serve knowingly and unknowingly as propaganda to support an apocalyptic worldview while desensitizing audiences and promoting an acceptance and even an appreciation of violent existence.

            This work is both a subversion of this model through the use of comedy and ambiguity and a solemn and serious critique of current international affairs. Materially, my artistic practice explores paper’s historic role as the vehicle for the distribution of information through the alteration of newspapers, advertisements and propaganda posters.

            I reduce American propaganda posters from the First and Second World Wars as well as apocalyptic movie and video game advertisements to their titles, catch phrases and basic graphic elements with acrylic on paper. The integrity of the original typeface and text formatting is maintained evoking a sense of nostalgia that references the specific moment in history when conflicts first reached an apocalyptic magnitude. The erasure of context and the isolation of the dramatic language undermines the original message by exposing the comedic and ambiguous nature of the text.

            Recognizing the iconic nature of the newspaper, it has become the object of my focus, driving my material and conceptual critique. By painting newspapers black I turn them into minimalist paintings that only symbolize their original content. While representing bad news itself they reference redacted government documents, issues of censorship and speak specifically to current international affairs. By allowing the content of the newspapers to dictate how they present themselves physically, in the form of sculptures and installations, I have created a corporeal symbol of IS’s desire to silence news media and information by silencing its authors through its current war on journalism.

            Due to the activist nature of the work, it is important to break out of the institutional mold of the gallery and interact with the public sphere allowing the work to engage with audiences in a way that is more likely to produce awareness of current political issues. I have, therefore, taken this work to the public in subtle gestures of protest by reading my black newspapers in cities internationally. 

Using Format