Interview: Derek Gores

Interview: Derek Gores, Dot Red
My name is Derek Gores and I live on the space coast of Florida, in a town called Satellite Beach. I specialize in collage artwork.
Interview: Derek Gores, Dot Red

How do you identify your collage work over other artists that you have seen?

I think that my work has a very angular sensibility to it. I embrace the cutlines and then add to it my kind of ragged, hand-torn element to things. I think also in my work, I’m after like a near and far experience. You get a main image, but then when you get up-close it kind of melts into an unexpected little rabbit-hole, optical illusion puzzle. And that makes me happy.

I’m after wanting it to be more than a still image. I want it to feel like elapsed time, I want it to feel like it triggers your memories. So maybe it shimmers and feels like more than just a frozen moment.

When you’re creating your collage work, what kind of messages are you trying to convey?

Yeah. My art is figurative art, and I’m building off of more than a hundred years of history, of kind of a fashionable sensibility. I love the German expressionist art, like Egon Schiele. But I want to be modern, I want to be feminist, I want to be now.

So the women in my art, even the one I’m showing, Marilyn for example, are in charge of their moments. They’re strong but are also fully dimensional. So I try to honor and never objectify the women in the artwork.

What has been your single greatest challenge as an artist?

I’m always searching for the personal in each piece. You’re building and building, digging deeper and connecting it to the personal. And as I’ve just mentioned, I’m aware that I’m a man making images of women. These are images that fascinate me. It could be that since I’m a man, I want to pursue the art or the mystery of women. It’s also standing on the shoulders of all that art history, I suppose.

But in a way, it’s always pressing forward and keeping it personal. And digging deeper, personally. You’re never satisfied. I think even if there’s a success, it just unlocks the next question. So it’s a craving, and that can be a hard feeling. It’s exhausting, thrilling. But I’ve got to keep going, gotta keep ripping, you know? That’s the best I know.
Interview: Derek Gores, Dot Red

When choosing the exhibiting, do you prefer exhibiting yourself or working with representation?

I enjoy representing myself, I love meeting people. There are certainly advantages, and there are times when it’s nice to not produce the whole thing. For the last 10-15 years I’ve enjoyed doing everything, learning everything, trying everything.

But I’ve gotten to where I am now; currently building a team. You know, I just made my first full-time hire as a Director of Operations for my own collage incorporated essentially. And the fella just dropped off lunch, he’s here to help dismantle the show afterward.

So there’s that. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything. So I want to do more of the making, and the creating and the curating. I have another booth with some friends I curated in this show.

So it is helpful and lovely to have representation when you can find the right person who cares about it.

Explain how your collage work involves more than four corners, it involves dimension and space. Get me into the mindset of how you create with all these elements in mind.

You mentioned space, space has been a starting point for me all along. I used to sit at the foot of my stairs with my dad and try to get the perspective right on our staircase. And once I got good at accuracy, then it became exciting to bend things and mess with it.

So most of my pieces have some kind of a depth play to it. Some illusion, something that you think is in the background, but it jumps out. Or you’ll notice some of the top layers are for the background. So I’m always looking for those twists.

Like if I were to take this ad here and rip it out, so now we see the bags. I could use this piece here to help define Marilyn’s leg. And I enjoy that it’s both her legs, but also it could be the big bags.

And I want that leap to happen of what you thought was the scale, and then it changes once you get up-close. It feels a little bit like a pleasant vertigo, pleasant sensory thing. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m looking at.

And here on the other side, something like that could make her elbow come out. And then before you know it, we’ve got some words that we weren’t expecting.

I’m always being open to the possibilities of what these scraps can add to the story. It ends up feeling kind of like a visual poem, where we can make associations from piece to piece. And you’d see them differently every day, your senses would combine a little differently every day.
This could also be used up here to form some of her hair. That’s kind of how I work, I pick up a piece at a time and it could go anywhere on there. Wherever it’s going to be the most interesting, like contribute to her form, but just enough surprise where your mind has to fight with it.

I like to think of it as kind of like the difference between what you do see, and what you think you see. It’s my psychedelic, art is my psychedelic.

IG: @derekgores