Craig Deppen Auge, …Coming Closer (Integration), mixed media (acrylic, gesso, gel medium, pencil, paper collage and canvas) mounted on canvas, 30” x 28”
American, b. 1983, playing from Kansas City, MO, USA
Craig Deppen Auge is an artist and designer originally from Charleston, West Virginia, currently residing in Kansas City, Missouri. His works are predominately mixed media, found object assemblage and collage, inspired by dreams, memory, and projections. His work has been exhibited throughout the Southwest, Midwest, and Southeast United States, and he is active in international mail-art projects.
Thoughts on the Telephone process
Having collaborated with painters and poets on work before, sometimes in the form of back and forth correspondence, I was so ready to nail this challenge. Then when I received my assignment, the project became difficult of the sudden… Then I broke through and it was easy again… Then I scrapped it all and it was difficult all over again. And the cycle continued a few more times.
I did feel very aware of the fact that I could be drastically, though not intentionally, altering the message or the course of the message. I found multiple meanings of varying depth in the film that I was to translate into a collage. it was tempting at times to simply parrot the imagery of the film, or to accept only the surface layer of meaning. I believe I was able to penetrate a deeper, core meaning, but I certainly continued to evaluate and reevaluate how I approached the translation in my own visual language. My aesthetic, methods, and materials are very different than film, even though there was a collage-like aspect to the film I was sent. Still, I had to submit again to the fact that the message would be altered, perhaps misheard, simply because it was going to be in another language, and moreover, another accent, or dialect, so to speak. In a way it felt like working in a vacuum, kind of in a void of meaning. Only the last person really knew exactly what they wanted to say, and I will have no direct feedback from the next artist (at least not for some time), no discussion or even so much as a key word or clue. At points this was uncomfortable, but ultimately became very freeing. I can make the message my own, speak it loudly, or softly, and hang up the phone. It was very different from a typical collaboration, which is usually more like a running dialogue.
And although I did find inspiration in the film, it was not as organic as if I were compelled from the heart to create a responsive work inspired by another artist. So in a way this “translation” felt almost academic, but not in a bad way at all. I was just aware the entire time that I was part of research, a trial, an experiment. Maybe that was just me putting more thought into it than was required. In the end, I stayed true to my personal aesthetic and process, choosing to translate the message through shape, color, and with fragments of symbols and images hinting at the core meaning. And by looking at another work in new ways, I pushed my own work into new territory.
I learned that “translating” another artist’s work, particularly of a drastically different medium, is difficult without some lyrical explanation (although there were words in the film, and that didn’t even fully reveal the message.) This was fun, exciting, and a great learning and growing exercise. I appreciate more, and will seek more, the open dialogue and collaboration between artists across multiple, disparate mediums.