© 2007 Darrell Taylor All
image above is a digital "collage" of maybe a thousand individual
pictures and picture fragments. I spent about three months constructing
it in Photoshop CS2. The original image file weighs in at over a gigabyte--16,800
pixels wide, by 8,400 pixels in height. Printed at 300 dpi, the picture
is five feet wide on our library wall in a wood frame that I made.
started making these "surreallegories" in imaging software
then available in the early '90s, and my first website in 1995 included
several that I had constructed more or less one pixel at a time. Today's
imaging software and storage capacities make working with much larger
picture is an homage to friends and family completed in the first
year of my eighth decade. It is intended to be funny but serious.
It contains over a hundred "characters" in historical costume,
and placed in a "romantic" landscape/citiscape. Though my
knowledge of the people depicted surely influenced my choice of costume,
there was no special attempt to interpret the real-world style and
character of any person depicted. Most costumes were chosen for reasons
of visual "fit" and feasibility of collage construction.
As with my former large photomontages, there are a large number of
"jokes" and secrets built into the image, most of which
are visible only at higher magnification for those with patience to
explore. Costumes and environments were provided by photographs made
by me and others, and by copying from historical art works. I like
to imagine so many people who have counted for me in one big festival--friends-and-family
via Breughel, Google, and Robert Altman. Or, if you prefer, "Where's
Waldo?" Into the bargain you get purloined fragments from the
work of Breughel, Manet, Velázquez, Vellers, Steen, Dürer,
Goya, Holbein, David, Ingres, Sargent, Cranach, Morris, and several
other formidable artists!
Meninas" painting by Velázquez (1656), that hangs
in the Prado has long been a work of interest to me. Even at the most
literal level it constitutes an inventory of most modes of vision
available to the artist: representation in painting, mirror images,
reflexive references to the artist himself, and a sly compendium of
the distribution of power in all dimensions of "the look,"
even including the gaze of political royalty upon the directorial
gaze of the depicted painter, himself. Behind the fun of the surface
of my picture, I have similarly inventoried many ways of seeing: microscopic,
macroscopic, reflective, representational, and so on, and linked these
to the basic human urge to "see all" and "in focus"
as God is said to do. The "digitalis" refers, of course,
to the digitalized transformation of the images, but it also refers
to the Foxglove plant, source of digitalis,
which is used medically as a "heart stimulant". The people
depicted have had a similar role in my life. "Meninas" translates
as "maids," both women and bridesmaids. If you know me,
the implications may be obvious.
do not ordinarily appreciate "explanations" of this sort,
but thought it might be easier to answer some questions about the
work here, rather than in individual responses.
work is one possible use of a long Maine winter.
Update: Eight years later (January, 2015), I have printed out a sepiatone version of the image to install in a 46" wide frame to hang in our front parlor, as an ironic family-tree homage to friends and family--one that works better with the decor and architecture of the room than the full-color version. To add a personal note: the passing of more than a decade now renders the content poignant in ways I did not foresee (deaths, divorces, displacements, lost friendships).
© 2007 - Darrell Taylor