Oil on canvas, framed
41 x 30 Inches
Shelf Life I (Painting) by Dave Pollot
“My creative process begins inside thrift shops where I find abandoned and forgotten artwork. I use oil paints to alter these pieces and blend my additions – often elements of pop culture – transforming them into new works with new meaning.
There were two pivotal moments in the genesis of my art. The first happened during a conference call early in my career as a software engineer. One of the older callers referenced a movie that was popular just before I was born. Assuming I’d never seen this movie, the caller joked that I wouldn’t understand this particular bit of pop culture – it was before my time.
The second happened in 2010 when I met an avid thrifter who would later become my wife. She was compelled to stop in every second-hand shop she passed and I was compelled to spend as much time with her as I could. While she searched the shelves for treasure, I looked through the dust-covered stacks of old artwork. We lamented that something that had been in the background of so many lives was now abandoned and unwanted and wondered if there was a way to bring it back to life in today’s world. A week later I finished my first altered thrift painting.
My work explores the questions that arose from those two experiences:
-Can anyone generation claim sole custody of any particular cultural icon or bit of pop culture? In the age of easy access to infinite content, pop culture has become a language unto its own. Looking through post comments found on most any user-curated content site reveals a new way of distilling complex thoughts and ideas into something as simple as silent clip from a favorite movie. Although these comment sections can often be a vitriolic wasteland, it is interesting to see the language of pop culture bridging nearly every cultural, geographic, and generational divide.
-By what rubric do we as a community of consumers and critics decide what artwork will remain relevant and what will ultimately find its way to the forgotten stacks on thrift shop floors? It’s an interesting challenge to transform the meaning of an existing work through additions which were made to look as though they were always there. It’s also fascinating how this change in meaning can drastically alter one’s perception of, and potential desire to own some particular piece of artwork once considered kitsch or tacky.
My work is the confluence of time periods, zeitgeists, styles, and intentions. By integrating distinct elements of pop culture from one generation into the abandoned artwork of another, cultural property lines are blurred and forgotten art is reinvented and transported into a more communal world where things like ‘modern nostalgia’ and ‘classical pop art’ make sense; one in which viewers are allowed an escape, if only for the few moments they spend looking at some bit of pop culture mischievously inserted into something that might have hung in their grandparents’ house.”