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Vakseen is master collage painting maker, a genius of Photorealism, and a commander of laughter, tears, and even a few puzzled facial expressions.

Surely many are sad to see The Mona Lisa behind bullet-proof glass in the Louvre. But perhaps its more exciting than people credit it for. Perhaps visitors to the museum are actually looking at a fully interactive piece of Contemporary Art instead of High Renaissance painting. Maybe the artist’s work isn’t completely activated until the visitors are present shooting at it or trying to slice it to shreds. This of course is just a fun notion, but there are certainly artworks that are not complete without their viewers. More importantly collage painting works like Vakseen’s collage painting require the audience’s reaction. This is because his painting collage is not concerned with style and form. His collage painting images are concerned with the participants interaction with the work. Famous for his Photorealism, Otha “Vakseen” Davis III is giving the audience a moment that is shared between the viewer and the hyper realistic paintings. These collage paintings do not fit with formal analysis because they are not mere forms, they are experiences.

Collage Painting

Is it Really a Collage Painting?

Collage painting by Vakseen has transcended visual language and created visual curiosity. At first glance people want to cry when they see a painting collage of his because they think the most stunning and lively paintings have been scissored. Surely these collage painting images are overpowering with vivid colors and sharp geometric shapes. However, viewers can rest assured that these colorful geometric patches of beauty have not been damaged. These beautiful snippets of a lady’s eye lashes or patches of big plump lips are actually just precursors to the climax of the Photorealism at hand. In fact, people realizing the hyper realistic paintings aren’t paper collages is more beautiful than the actual forms. The most beautiful parts of the paintings are actually just the viewers as they twist their necks around for closer inspection. This experience of curiosity triumphs over even the most meticulous form the artist could have painted.


Methods for Critiquing Photorealism

The Archaic art historians of The Louvre might have trouble analyzing a collage painting by Vakseen with traditional methods. It’d be futile to use even the most vivid colors alone to depict Homer’s Odyssey. It’s impossible to analyze the visual forms of something with no visual forms. Homer and his narrative might appreciate good old fashioned words opposed to redundant Crayola names. Similarly the mere human eye is not the best tool for dissecting Vakseen’s works of painting collage. Analyzing with only forms in mind might not be appropriate for Vakseen’s collage painting images. If observation is the only tool available to Vakseen’s art critics, they are sure to miss out on the most marvelous aspects of his collage painting. Art critics would not dare analyze a complex event under the lens of vision and form alone. Vakseen’s hyper realistic paintings demand a more comprehensive approach in their scrutiny because they are events too and not just visual representations. Like experiences this Photorealism is too complex to just be concerned with what it looks like. Contemporary art critics must rise to the challenge that is Vakseen’s work and throw out this worthless outdated method of visual analysis.

Perplexing Collage Painting

If a picture is worth a thousand words than an experience is worth ten thousand more. Vakseen gives his spectators two very valuable experiences that can be seen in their reactions. The first is the what the. Upon realizing that these are not mere paper clippings attached with Elmer’s Glue, people cry out, “what the..?!” The what the is a beautiful aspect of what makes this collage painting Contemporary Art. Viewers also bring the how the to gallery when seeing this painting collage. After seeing the collage painting images for what they really are, people tap their feet and whine, “how the hell did he do that.” Perhaps this is what proves his work to be Photorealism. With Vakseen’s hyper realistic paintings and other Contemporary Art, the picture is no longer important. The really priceless components of Vakseen’s work are the reactions brought by the viewer and the experiences had by the participants.

Curious Collage Painting

Vakseen rises above the dusty styles of art’s past by fusing forms, culture, and the viewer experience in his collage painting. His bold style is quick and sharp the click of a camera shutter. His painting collage is inspired by contemporary female models and commercialism. His visual language is inspired by fashion photography. This style in his collage painting images becomes a voice and a forum. His collage painting creates spaces for conversations about how females are treated in modern times. Issues of gender inequality are brought up with his Photorealism. But the viewer can be a man, can identify as a women, or have no sex or gender at all. The viewer can be gay, straight, or asexual. People who interact with and react to these works can be of any color and any age. Participants can have any career or come from any background. The aspect that is truly inspirational with this Vanity Pop is the user’s place. It’s not important to look at these hyper realistic paintings with form in mind. It’s not even important to think of what these works are saying. It’s important to listen to what the viewers are saying.


Written by

Topher is the founder and editor of Culture Hog Magazine. He studies art history and works at the Oakland Museum of California. Topher values strong community and worldwide healing and progress via the arts.


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