Friday, October 18, 2013

Word Play: Momentum Tulsa Artist Kerry Azzarello

Kerry Azzarello, Oklahoma City

Laura Reese:What is your concept and inspiration for this piece in Momentum?
Kerry Azzarello: The concept behind Stand-In (Peyo Word Play) stems from my own identity and interests in language, sociology, and pop culture. For a variety of reasons, there are times when we choose to have a word stand in for what we really want or mean to say. This happens on a very intimate, personal level and also on a larger scale such as in mass media. The words in the middle section of Stand-In (Peyo Word Play) are varied, powerful, and thought-provoking. However, they are reduced to a single word – “smurf” – in the movie The Smurfs. I outlined what would have been said in the absence of any substitution

Kerry Azzarello, Stand-In (Peyo Word Play), Digital Print, $185
Please explain the technique and/or process you used to create this work.
After honing the concept, it involved watching the movie, noting each substitution, and re-inserting the original text/meaning. The font, color palette, and frame were all chosen to provide a fun, agreeable delivery system for a very powerful message, while also remaining true to the concept and source material. The subtitle is a nod to the creator of the Smurfs comic strip, Peyo. While a viewer may not immediately make the jump to understanding the piece in its entirety, it was important to provide a pathway to connect the multiple meanings.

How is this piece similar or different to your other artwork?
This piece is actually a bit of a departure from my previous work, which has focused on photography of the built environment and material abstraction. Nevertheless, I think themes of exploration, curiosity, mystery, dichotomy, risk-taking, and altered viewpoints remain. This new direction is definitely one I’m going to continue exploring! 

Momentum Tulsa features visual art by 51 young Oklahomans. The exhibition remains on display until October 24 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady. Spotlight Artists will speak to the public on October 24th at 6:30pm at Living Arts. Learn more at

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