Anthony Gerace, visual artist and photographer, wrote me an email couple of days ago and I had the chance to take a closer look on his work. I am especially interested in his work series “Fig. 1-99″, hundred colour studies on paper sourced from 60s, 70s magazines such as Life, Playboy, Time, Popular Mechanics etc. I enjoy this fragmentation of colour and combination of forms. The collage pieces definied by their outlines appear as abstract forms with words/letters giving away their identity – their combination only predicted by their specific colour chosen from the magazines. And still, there is enough space to bring those pieces to life; at one point, you start to recognize those stripped motives seeing contours of women, hands, breasts,… Some appear more vivid, others less. At the end it’s all about the uniqueness of a single piece. I asked Anthony some questions to know more about him and his work. Enjoy the interview.
Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Anthony Gerace, I’m a photographer and collage artist based in London. I moved here recently to pursue work in graphic design, but for the past ten years have lived in Toronto.
I am especially interested in your work series “Fig. 1-99″ – hundred colour studies on paper sourced from 60s, 70s magazines. The collages don’t seem specifically arranged. How do you know when to come to an end? What role does coincidence play in your work?
I conceived the series, near the beginning, as having a defined ending (100 was always the goal). But within that, while there was no specific arrangement to speak of, there were certain instances where pairings or runs of images were important. Especially in the centre of the series, where Fig. 50 is split in two to show the potential (and main point, really) of the project: that each piece was unique not only in composition but also in tonality, and that even if I kept an obvious visual cue (the “and the” typography) it would still result in a very different piece just on accounts of the paper. There were also certain pieces that were made with the intention of going in certain places in the series: though I made “Fig. 99″ long before I finished, I knew it was going to be the final image, mainly because I think it sums things up well. Likewise, there was always meant to be more and more multi-coloured studies as the series went along. Though I always found these less satisfying. So while I didn’t know how the entirety would look, I did know what it would be.
As a graphic designer does your commercial practice influence your art practice? Do you separate those practices? Or is it just “the same”?
I’d say both practices influence each other. For a long time I tried to integrate my collage work into my graphic design, but as I thought about it more I realized that that had the side effect of cheapening the collages and making them look more like process than their own entity. I do think that the methodologies of both practices have influenced one another for the better: when designing, I can’t help seeing myself as collaging, just not collaging paper and doing it digitally, while, when making collages, the implications of typography and tone factor in more because of how my design education has influenced me. They’re definitely not the same, and I do keep them separate, but I don’t think they’d exist without each other.