Design & The Arts are tools that have been employed heavily by business seeking to communicate with the public since they started to emerge as a commercial industry in the early 20th Century. Principles of Modernism evolved in to Graphic Design & later Branding, formalizing & refining visual communication into a sharpened weapon used by governments, businesses & corporations to manipulate the hearts & minds of the general public.
These subtle but constant manipulations, played out through advertising & the media, influence the way we see the world, ourselves, think & feel. Entire belief systems have been created using these techniques for decades. The explosion of the advertising industry & western pop culture in the 50s & 60s fueled consumerism throughout the years to follow. Simultaneously seeding & feeding off ideas of individuality, insecurity, envy, greed & lust to sell products, services & seed ideals across the world.
Lee James Owens has worked for years within the industry & found himself constantly at odds with it’s practices, his role within it & with being a target of it’s rhetoric. He uses his intimate knowledge to critique & question the principals, techniques & representations that have helped shape the world that we live in. He uses fundamental elements of design & references to Modernism through; Colour, Type, Grid, Scale, Hierarchy & Shape to question it’s methods.
Inspired by the work of Richard Prince, Barbra Kruger & The Pictures Generation, imagery is stolen, edited & removed from its original context to have its meaning re-evaluated. He re-focuses the viewer on a new way of seeing once familiar, even mundane imagery from the past, giving it entirely new meaning. Printed images & type are simply cropped, combined & composed in new ways to throw their original purpose & message into question. Basic shapes & blocks of flat painted acrylic colour are layered on to add or emphasize ideas & focus the viewer’s attention.