Friday, January 4, 2013

Impulses In Materials: Travis Hummingbird

Author: Heather Eck (OVAC Intern)
Travis Hummingbird, Making, 2011, Collage on Paper, 12" x 8"
Tulsa artist Travis Hummingbird combines magazines, photocopies and many different items to form his masterpieces that are collages. His Concept/OK Survey exhibition piece, Making, gives us evidence of his ability to mix the simplest of media to create a piece that is profound and thought provoking.

Hummingbird did not always know this collaging technique, or “decollaging” so to speak. His research of this technique gave way to an exploration in itself, which is where Making found its niche. Hummingbird further informed me of his Concept/OK work and the intent behind it.  
Q: What do you want your piece to inform its viewers?
TH: I hesitate to say that the work "informs" anything, certainly nothing specific.  Making does not have a set meaning behind it, but if it has a primary topic, it would be on an individual's act of creating something, anything.

Watching a one-time coworker draw and my own enjoyment in the art-making process played roles in the making of this work, but I'm not eager to fence in the viewer's interpretation and solely focus on that.  My initial drive to create may arise from specific impulses, but my main interest lies with creating something more open-ended, something that the viewer can question. 

I realize that this stance can seem noncommittal, but I would rather risk that than limit artwork to a strict interpretation.  (That said, even given the loose manner in which the work was formed, I want it to be read beyond a purely formal interpretation.) 

Q: Do you normally work in collage or are you drawn to other mediums?
TH: Working in collage is a change of pace for me.  I've kept scrapbooks of newspaper and magazine images and articles for years but infrequently attempt to create art solely from what I find. Drawing takes up more of my practice. The black and white figure in the collage is a remnant of a photocopy from a comic strip I drew in a sketchbook. One of the advantages in this process, I've learned, is that it provides another way to salvage disappointing work. 

Q: What materials went into the creation of this piece?
TH: Magazine pages, black and white photocopies, a color photocopy with acrylic ink painted on top, glue sticks, and Yes paste. 

The Concept/OK: Art in Oklahoma exhibition welcomes to the public through February 16, 2013  at the new Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council’s Hardesty Arts Center. Admission is free of charge. See for more information. 

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