Carolyn Capps: The Art

Personal Portfolio


We Are Not Our Work

An Artist Statement


          We Are Not Our Work is an ongoing series of digital collages I started in 2012. The work explores the gaps and parallels in the lives of well-known artists as well as lines of connections and influence in their works. Each collage consists of layered portraits of the artists. Sometimes the portraits are self-portraits or documentation of a performance piece but more frequently they are formal portraits, publicity shots or snapshots. I have chosen to use these portraits instead of their more recognizable artworks because I want to accentuatethe idea that people are far more complex than their art works convey and their lives are or were far more precious than the work itself.

          It is not necessary to have a background in art history to understand this work, although it may add a layer of interest for those who do have some knowledge. It is helpful to keep in mind that art history is a record of ongoing dialog or debate. Artists question, answer, second, praise,insult and negate each with their artistic choices. In this series I play the role of host. I arrange conversations in which I would like to participate.The reasons behind my choices are varied and sometimes unspecific.They range from self-edification through intellectual curioucity to simple amusement. I also welcome the idea of chance in these pieces. It often come in the form of serendipitous conversations between artists created when I layer collage on collage.Each final piece is the result of many failed efforts and happens over days or even weeks rather than hours.

        Some artists appear more frequently than others within the series. This is not by design but has just developed as part of the process. Some artists have cast a longer, broader artistic shadowthan others have. Marcel Duchamp, for example, has arguably been influential to all well-known contemporary artists. He appears often for this reason but also because he has been useful in my exploration of artistic motivation, a theme that runs through out the series.

          This body of work comes at a point in my life when I have been looking at the works of my role models for a very long time. My attitude,toward the works has become part of my own sense of identity. I have noticed changes over time in how I see or think about the work and have come to sense the work in a broader context but also on a more human level.

          Seen individually, the pieces are vignettes primarily of my own thought processes. As a whole, I hope this work can be enjoyed by a broad audience, as an indicator of human connectivity and as a tribute as much to the many artists who have tried and failed as to those who are represented here.