Buy Denial Graffiti Modern Pop Artwork
On the basis of the art of Denial, one can identify elements of Pop Art. Like many artists of his generation, Denial embraces pop art and pays homage to it by incorporating relevant themes into his artworks. As a result, his art includes brand logos, nuclear energy references, conspiracy theories, noir aesthetics and, in many cases, the American flag, especially as the fond of his artworks. This motley series of themes, in a way, is used by the artist from the one hand as a mirror, in order to present contemporary issues and, on the other hand, as a weapon, in order to confront them.
Even though his approach may, sometimes, appear nihilist, his following comments are revealing about the intentions of his art: “My work speaks of impending doom and a lot of crass sinister themes, but that should not mean I desire this to happen at all. I hope my work suggests the opposite: to show the ridiculousness of it all and how we may find better solutions for the future. Shit has to change and that is what I believe my work truly speaks to.”.
Essentially, he is satirizing the reality, which both he and us are experiencing, through some of the Western culture’s most emblematic symbols. From the Coca Cola logo, Superman and Bugs Bunny to Channel perfumes and credit cards, he is utilizing such cultural products with the intention to make a statement against the system, which gave birth to them. As a result, he re-contextualizes them and transforms them from commercial products to his cultural legacy.
The artist is highly socially conscious and through his work is trying to provoke his audience. In a way, he wants to raise awareness on contemporary issues through the visual stimulation of his work and using his own words “you can literally see all around you the direct results of a lot the issues my work explores. Homelessness, unemployment, housing foreclosures, access to healthy and affordable food, urban sprawl...”.
Another aspect of Denial's work is humor. His work is satirical, which, by definition, means that it uses humor as a confronting mechanism. “In my experience, if you can make someone laugh you can make them think. I use humor in some of my works for this fact, to open the dialogue. I really don’t know why people buy my work but I am grateful to have fans and collectors that help perpetuate my career. If I had to guess I would say they buy it because they get it, they get that things should and could be different, they believe in a future without human injustice/suffering which is the ultimate underlying tone of my work.”, he mentions in an interview in 2006.
Naturally, the artist has evolved as one the most prominent figures of contemporary pop artists, who nonetheless, continues to stay relevant and is interested in generating thought-provoking commentary. He has a long history of exploring the boundaries of appropriation, which he uses as a means of subverting the value of cultural products, imprinted in the collective memory of the Western civilization. His work, in other words, is inviting the viewer to re-imagine our dystopian society as a way of confronting it, with humor and irony as the biggest tools of the artist.
Under this spectrum, Denial’s art is strongly political and social, since the artist takes specific positions against issues, such as capitalism, consumer culture and advertisements. More importantly, the artist is aware of his choices and motivations: “I like to think of myself as activist pop art. How I relate with cartoons and graphics is a lot easier than I do with photo-realistic stuff. I love referencing things that people are so familiar with. With humor and nostalgia, you can open up communication. I’ve done that for years, used elements of humor and familiarity to open a dialogue because then you can slide in some real issues and different things you’re trying to convey in your work. You have a lot more open stream to the person’s consciousness and experience towards how they’re taking your art. If you can get them to laugh at it, remember something or relate to some image. Then, they are going to zoom in and see all of the hidden details that I’ve put in there.”
In the world of Denial, memory is important, because it is the basis of his work, as it nostalgically encourages the audience to engage with it. As a result, his art is as familiar, as it is disturbing because it reveals the most unsettling parts of society, the ones we are in a “denial” of. His art is smart, humorous and overflows with irony and, in a few words, encapsulates the absurdity of the world, making an open call to his audience to engage and reflect on the systemic societal values, materiality and meaning.