Art in Progress: John Delk’s “Bang!”

John Delk is not only a great, celebrated artist, he’s also my former house-mate.  We shared an old bungalow on Colquitt (I think).  John has always been an exceptionally thoughtful person.  You can start a shallow chat with him, but end up having a deep philosophical discussion.  When I asked him to appear here, he was kind enough to send a photo of himself–I feel honored since I couldn’t find any of him online.

“Bang” is a work in progress, one that needs YOUR help.  It consists of a wire structure encased in anti-depressants.  It is community art at its finest.  Here’s what John has to share about the piece and his methods:

“Bang!” consists of a wire structure encased in anti-depressants.

My work is conceptual. I just looked up the definition of “conceptual art” to verify that I know what I’m talking about. It is: Art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if any exists. I think this is a fairly accurate description of how I work, though in many instances the idea results in an object. BANG is an example where the process of making the piece is as important as the resulting object. It cannot be made without the help of others and when finished will be the result of donations made following years of varied conversations about psychotropic drugs and the pharmaceutical industry.

Other pieces which required an exchange are John and Pam Call America, a collaboration with artist Pamela Buchwald where we called people across the country to see how they were doing, and Post which necessitated enlisting anyone I could find to sit with me and cut out thousands of smiles off the faces of models in catalogs.

I work in whatever media is necessary to realize an idea. Lands’ End are paintings, Pleading is a pile of teddy bears implanted with audio recordings, Guantanamo required goldfish and poetry, 35 demanded photographing everything that came in and out of my body for one year.

As I begin preparing for my next exhibition, I’ve compiled a list of ideas and themes that interest me now which will inform what I make. A partial list follows.

monochrome, natural surfaces and materials
measurements of time: calendars, steles
repetition
fading, being weathered
outer space
life on mars
records, record keeping, recording, repetition, accumulation
SPAM and messages that promise instant change and deliverance from ordinary live
how to relate the distant past to the present
famous tweets engraved in stone. headstones. tweeting from the graveyard. oracles.
Braille used to describe vision or light. sign language used to describe noise.

If you have any extra and/or expired anti-depressants (Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin Effexor, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro. Cymbalta, Nardil, Parnate, etc.) and can donate them, John would be grateful.  Visit the BANG page of his website for specific instructions.

See more of John’s work at
www.johndelk.com

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