ARTIST’S STATEMENT – David Jay Reed
I’m so honoured to be selected as Artist of the Month for September of this year, so thanks so much to the selection committee. I really appreciate it.
Putting text and imagery together, to create an artistic message, has been part of my life from the day I embarked on a career as a graphic designer at the age of nineteen.
For most designers, imagery and text are intermixable, depending on what the message is meant to convey. Sometimes the text supports the image, and sometimes it is the other way around.
However, my initial work, in fine art, was in hand-coloured photographs, where I documented my travels both in Australia and overseas.
My interest began to change, though, when I was employed by the Art Gallery of Western Australia to tour exhibitions around Western Australia and the Northern Territory. I became fascinated by the variety of images that could be created using the woodcut, etching, lithography and silkscreen methodologies. I continued to document everyday objects and situations, but used the above-mentioned processes, instead of photography.
After I went to live in Japan, as an English teacher, I once again became aware of the power of the juxtaposition of text and imagery. Upon reaching an inn, during one of my vacations, I decided to use the men’s toilet. Just above the toilet handle was a sign that read, “When finished pee, turn cock right.” For the next few years, I endeavored to create artworks that combined “Japlish” with Japanese imagery, to create pictures which were generally amusing or ironic. For this series, I used various mediums, including drawings, solvent transfer and Print Gocco.
In 2000, I went to complete an MFA in Non-toxic Printmaking, at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upper New York State. It was there that I came upon some graffiti, written by children, and this inspired my graffiti series. In this case, I appropriated imagery from photographs I had taken in New York and coupled them with the children’s graffiti to create my own humorous content. For this series, I used a 4-colour etching process that I had invented as part of my MFA thesis.
Transcript for Kawazu
we must remember what is important
truly is to live with nature
your better life will be guaranteed
by an extraordinary best location
facility appliances and arrangement.
It was in 2008, when I was recruited as HOD of the Visual Arts Diploma course, for an IB school in Beijing, that I became extremely interested in digital imagery, and began the shadow series, which again included humour or social comment, accept this time, using shadows.
However, at the same time, I became fascinated by Chinese ancient mythology. My first series concentrated on the Chinese gods, of which there are over 1000, including spirits and deities.
After this series, I was attracted to the mythological coupling of flora and fauna, which can forecast good omens for the owners of the artworks. For both series I used vector and raster software to paint the images. The final output was on both paper and canvas.
Guan Yin is one of the most beloved deities in Chinese mythology and is the symbol of mercy, kindness, compassion, and love.
As the traditional floral symbol of China, peonies are considered the flower of riches and honour. When depicted with an egret, it means being rich and honoured for life.
Now that I’m living back in Perth, my new work will be based on recycled paper. I have worked in this medium in the past, but due to my travels it was difficult to maintain. Now I will have the time to revive it.
Once again, thanks so much for this opportunity.