• Giulia Greco

"From the Pages to the Fingers of Artist Derek Gores, Mad Genius"

The canvas and mind are blank. When will the inspiration come? Stacks of magazines and newspapers in the corner. Suddenly a page leaps out and a cocoon forms to lock in the creativity. The mind and hands start playing a symphony to create a masterpiece.

Let me introduce you to internationally renowned artist, Derek Gores. I have purchased my ticket for his symphony and am taking my seat. He is successful. He has a savvy mind he knows his market and clients and gives them what they want. He has designed a business strategy to work with his favorite brands. I asked ‘How did you come to work for all these brands; Playboy, Kentucky Derby, TLC and Tag Heuer?” He replied simply, ‘I just called them and told them my vision.” I feel the silk tapestry of the cocoon forming and I am about to enter the creative process of the mad genius artist work. The band is seated and conductor is coming on stage. Sit back, listen and celebrate the masterpiece being created.

courtesy of Derek Gores

How does your process begin? How do you get your vision from start to finish using clippings?

The spark can come from any point on the chain. A color, a pose, even a bit of text on a scrap of paper that suggests a title. But generally, for my collage pieces I take (or commission) photographs with a model, space or object, then deconstruct them digitally, playing with added textures. I usually include song lyrics of something I'm listening to, plus schematics from an old favorite toy or guitar, or map of a favorite place. Using acrylic medium and a cheap brush, I cover a canvas with magazines, pretty randomly, with colors and textures that appeal at the moment. I then cut up or rip the printed digital parts somewhat blindly, and glue them to the canvas. After adding more layers of found details from magazines, I step back and assess, aiming for a sweet spot where the art is somewhat recognizable, yet pleasantly confusing as well. I work quickly and on several pieces at once to get beyond linear control. When done, I add a UV protectant varnish, and it is ready to hang. I usually title the art using words found in the finished piece.

What is the environment around you like when you are working? Are you solo, buried in a studio, or around life? What do you require to work?

Apparently my life is collage-like, pulling from many inspirations to hopefully add up to something. Before I get down to work, I wander a good bit, go see people, see what they’re making, feel the sun, get some nature. Good ideas come while distracted. I tend to make the work in waves, because it takes a certain momentum and mental energy. Once I’m gluing and ripping, it is “on” for several full blast days. Around me I have many half-ideas, half-tangents waiting for the right moment. Brian Eno’s deck of cards, old car hood ornaments, drawings done with kids, blunt tools, shapes made with tape on the floor, and ideally a few empty tables to work on. I work best when stuff is in the right place before I start and make a new mess. I have a wall of magazines, and a few bins sorted by warm colors, cool colors, black and white, and a special spot for metallic, of course. Ambient music usually on the stereo, stuff without lyrics or a beat, to open up the mind.

courtesy of Derek Gores

How do you choose your subject for your pieces? What is your favorite subject to highlight in your work? Fashion? Animals? Butterflies?

Well, the main subject, whether directly or indirectly, is the figure, the living being, the strong woman. Even if showcasing a butterfly, or a surreal st