“If the collage at any point evokes a chuckle from me then I consider that a success of some kind.”

This collage uses a photo taken by my friend, Ryookyung, while they were visiting Korea. I was immediately drawn to the photo and found it fascinating to look at. The photo was taken using a toy camera and the right side of it had this big burnt-out line in it. This inspired me to add some sort of kaiju monster into the photograph that was going to look like it was blasting out the side section or something, but after playing around with various monsters, e.g. Godzilla, it felt like nothing was quite working in a way that I was satisfied. I decided to go in an alternative direction and put in a cute animal (a red panda) instead, sized up to kaiju level, and this was the result. The effect was immediate and instantly gratifying though even now I’m not sure why. I still like it even today.

I think there’s something reminiscent of Pom Poko, the 1994 studio Ghibli film, and the vision of some sort of giant red panda god monster playing with or visiting this temple site in Korea was fun to look at and imagine. There’s something playful running throughout the collage, from its original photograph being taken during a short trip through a toy camera to its emergence within this earlier point in my digital collage art that utilized a lot of cute animals and characters. I named the collage “Pandamic” as it was made during 2020 in those early days of lockdown and uncertainty. It was really fun to play with collage and imagine scenes like this.

Looking at my work, I have two general directions that the energy of the art goes in, either very overt political expressions or strange experiments in fun/light-heartedness/dumb shit/weird nonsense. I love collage as an art medium that provides so much ground to just fuck around. I love fucking around in collage, using images taken from elsewhere and colliding them together to say something or to imagine worlds, or maybe even to say nothing at all. I think the ground that underlies the collages I do, besides the overt political ones, is based on a “heh heh” standard. If the collage at any point evokes a chuckle from me then I consider that a success of some kind. Like the image of a ginseng smoking a cigarette, that kind of thing makes me laugh for whatever reason. In a way, I think this sort of attitude towards “art” pervades all of my work, or most of it anyway. I try not to take myself or my art too seriously, not to say that I’m not emotionally invested in it because I absolutely am (lmao). Perhaps what I mean is that I am serious about the work, but that seriousness is held by teeth firmly gripping a tongue stuck in cheek. Something like that.

grime_ninja is a digital collage artist. grime does a lot of other things too but doesn’t want to talk about them here.


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