"I am a product, in the General Mills or Procter & Gamble sense, of the first generation hyper-consumers. We are the post-boomer tweeners, nourished on a sugary diet of Saturday morning cartoons, Pink Floyd album covers, iron-on Tees, and Shit Happens bumper stickers. We took the Pepsi Challenge, drank the be all you can be Kool-Aid, and clicked through the nation’s first 24 cable channels at infrared light speed. Not asking why anyone would watch music on a television but asking why the eight D batteries in our luggage-sized boom boxes wouldn’t play our Devo and Bon Jovi cassette tapes longer. We found our identities on MTV, on billboards, in McDonald’s Happy Meals, and at the Chuck E Cheese video arcade in the pea-sized 5 acre suburban malls. We were the lab rats for corporate logos, branding strategies, and target marketing...and we loved it, we wanted to give the world a Coke and share “instant” Polaroid shots of ourselves in our new tanning-bed-bronze skin.
And then we passed the Mountain Dew to Generation X, Hip-Hop urban settlers, and mall rats now on digital tilt consuming the aisles and aisles of magazine racks at the local Barnes & Noble while blogging over a cup of joe at the Starbucks inside. They are the mediators of multi-media, streaming through their social networks and broadcasting themselves to remote corners of the world forming, consuming, and disposing of the Fruedian Id in a world wide way. A generation constructing their multiple, and often virtual, identities as a composite of Big Boi wanna-bees, DKNY brandishers, and Juicy Couture (self-imposed) celebs.
Considering these influences, the Identity Crisis series explores the commoditization of identity, the person as product, the branding of me. Appropriately enough I believe, through a mixed media of paint, marker, and collage, I investigate the mutually non-exclusive blurring of consumer and consumption, the “we are what we eat” materialization of identity in contemporary culture. The topic of the series came first and pointed me immediately to an advertising aesthetic in executing paintings of this narrative.
The pieces are created in the same fashion as early graphic advertising...drawing, producing a layout, masking the layout, coloring, masking other areas, coloring again and so on until a built-up but flattened image is composed. The work is intended to remove many of the traces of the artist’s hand (metaphorically, the individual), advancing the Warhol Pop Art aesthetic of mass production but in technical opposition as an individual, unique painting. Perhaps juxtaposition to the series topic one might conclude. The UPC’d figure is recurring in the work, speaking blatantly to the body, and our identity, as an article of commerce. And the restricted palette purposefully narrows the attention to the figure in its composition, leaving the pieces to resemble advertisements themselves."
Above: Googling, Christopher Hauck (Atlanta, GA)