Artist Brent Holmes’ ‘Crass’ take on commercialism
Wed, Dec 5, 2012 (6:10 p.m.)
Illustration: Brent Holmes
Artist Brent Holmes’ Barfing Rainbows exhibit last year featured digital works and paintings that ranged from weirdly jarring to philosophically profound. In Crass Doesn’t Sell, he takes a similar approach but with a more intentionally polished outcome and marketing angle.
With a background in graphic design, Holmes is keenly aware that advertising is an effective visual language, and he uses it as a tool in works addressing commerce, commercialism and art.
- Crass Doesn't Sell
His collage-based prints incorporate glamour and fashion photography, witty text and models delivering mixed but pointed messages. Included is iconography lifted directly from global currencies (“tiny pieces of artwork you put in your pocket for goods and services,” Holmes says). Exuding from all of that is the crassness, which, it was pointed out to him during a previous exhibit, does not sell.
In Crass, he goes after what he calls “ivory-tower notions of art” and accumulations of money, while delivering sweet poetry and well-thought-out visual discomfort. “This is the same exact thing we’d use to sell somebody underwear or toothpaste,” he says. “I’m trying to sell you a thought, revelation or idea.”