Artists organize and manipulate visual symbols for the purpose of communication. The challenge is to organize these symbols and their attendant associational values in a coherent fashion so that a sympathetic viewer can grasp their meaning. Like a writer who arranges pre-existing words into fresh sentences, the artist juxtaposes known visual signifiers to create unique yet intelligible images.
As with any conversation, this process requires the artist to find something to talk about. Then, one must articulate this idea or point of view using a visual language that is understood by the intended audience. In my case, I choose to use the language of contemporary suburban consumer culture in my current work to comment on our individual and collective human weaknesses. I use images such as ping pong paddles, shovels and lawn mowers in order to prompt the viewer to try to decipher my stance regarding the context and utility of such tools.
Ultimately, I am motivated by the belief that art can change human behavior. Gentle reminders that we can all do better might not change the world, but they can have a cumulative effect as a humorous voice of restraint.
James H. Calvin