Kalen Hollomon: Fashion’s Kooky Collage Artist
Isaac Perez Solano,
From Gucci, to Courrèges to The Weekend, the New York-based artist Kalen Hollomon offers a great range of statements through his way of art that’s hella crazy to resist. “Unorthodox combinations that explore commerce, fashion, gender identity and taboo collide in images where everyday moments are punctuated with realism and romance,” says the biography on his site, but you can take it as a reactionary denunciation of the sexual-liberation movement -almost as controversial as the one that once got Michel Houellebecq booted from the Perpendiculaire… but more visual, obviously.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazine.
I remember interviewing you for the first time back in 2014. There were just a few of us getting electrifying shots of your vision through an Instagram timeline. Now, after almost three years, how do you feel your work has evolved?
I think my work has grown more calm and natural in its construction, less forced.
When you were just starting to show your work, did you ever imagine showing to a wider audience?
I’ve always been attracted to sharing my work but never imagined my largest audience would be on the Internet, that’s weird. I hope to broaden my IRL viewership with exhibitions and public works.
You have done collaborations with Gucci, Courrèges, The Weeknd, among others; but what is the most important part of being approached by big names nowadays?
Making a living. Collaborations are a source of growth; I learn a lot when collaborating.
What were you doing when this happened?
I think we should have started from the very bottom and stop assuming people are aware of your work just because what has been mentioned above. Can you explain how the Kalen Hollomon movement started?
I wouldn’t call it a movement by any means but, I started an Instagram account maybe five years ago and I was doing a lot of “real time” collage, holding things up and snapping them to make new images. I gained a substantial amount of followers, but doing a project for Vogue really was the beginning of my gaining a bigger audience. From there, I began working with other publications and companies, collaborating with people and here we are.
Collage has always been a very tricky technique. It tends to look a bit cheesy, overworked, intense or a little irrelevant. What is it that drew you to explore this field?
Collage is a great medium to explore the way that small alterations have the power to interfere with perception in large ways. It can also be funny.
It’s like a good and fun way of using a form of language to express how you might feel about certain topic, right?
Yes it definitely can be. For me it’s more about questioning how I feel rather than expressing any opinion or static feeling about a topic.
One of my favourite pieces is the one with Barack Obama holding a Louis Vuitton bag. What would be yours and why?
I took an image of a busy ski resort and another of a small group on horseback walking up a snowy, tree-covered mountain, then cut and swapped out identical shapes and put them side-by-side. There’s a sort of time and space entanglement. It’s one of my favourites because it’s simple and energetic, thought provoking.
Your collages are the new way of punk –in my opinion, when everyone seems having the same references and the same way of expressing those references. Do you have any really defining concept of your take as an artist?
I’m attracted to finding something peculiar in the ordinary. Making things that poke at my belief system and some sort of bigger idea about reality being subjective.
What is your point of view of the modern world as a system?
The modern world system is an age of invisible suffering, promoted and masked by ego-driven conveniences that corral the masses into blind servitude. The population fuels a destination less and purposeless machine while undermining it’s own spiritual wellbeing as it complacently powers onward into the fiery pits of hell. But it’s good.
What is art for you in the 21st century?
Art is art, and broadly reaching. But questions of the day come up, like: can a computer duplicate the essence, energy and strength of an analog masterpiece?
What would you think if I say that in order to be an artist in the now, one should have more sense of humour than any other skill?
A sense of humour is pretty important, but not as valuable as a good publicist. Confidence and a point of view matter very much also.
What are you currently working on?
I’m focusing on making work, all kinds. Collage, analog and digital photographs, paintings, dreaming of a space where I could make some of the sculptures in my head.
If you would have to end this interview with a piece, how would it be composed?
Refried beans, cheese and onions wrapped in a tortilla.
Isaac Perez Solano
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