JASON SIEGEL & KEITH D’ANGELO
Shoot Portraits Not People
A portion of all proceeds will be donated to benefit the victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
Exhibition on display through December 24th, 2017
Jason Siegel is an accomplished Denver based lifestyle photographer specializing in the music and apparel industries. In the last year, Jason’s creative mind and well connected presence has allowed him to expand from photography into comprehensive installation work and apparel/hard good design. Internationally recognized for his projects, Siegel has travelled to 40+ countries, continuing to provide him with inspiration found in the places he visits and people with whom he creates relationships.
Take a scroll through his Instagram and you’ll be drawn in by the faces of music powerhouses like Griz, Dillon Francis and Big Gigantic, sandwiched between commercial work with major brands like Steve Madden, Finish Line and Under Armour Women’s. Most recently, Jason’s photos can be seen in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Hypebeast, Complex and High Snobiety, connecting his impeccable style to influencers around the globe.
In 2016 Siegel concepted a collaborative works entitled “Shoot Portraits Not People”, gaining international press. This creative and provocative exhibit, displays recycled photographic equipment built into high-powered weaponry, offering a look into the idea behind shooting portraits, not people. The exhibit was on display in Aspen during the 2017 X-Games and a new installation will continue to make rounds to major art destinations, beginning with it’s next run in Santa Fe in fall 2017.
Keith D’Angelo is a mixed media multi-sensual artist from Colorado. D’Angelo explores creativity to evoke emotion with a multifaceted experience. He uses creativity as a way to process and explore the world around him. Permanent public art installations can be seen throughout major tourist destinations such as Aspen, Telluride, Carbondale, and Breckenridge.
Keith’s early work started with large scale steel and copper sculptures that aimed to embellish the beauty of nature. Some of his most recent work, however, has transformed the idea of sculpting. By utilizing the ephemeral element of fire, D’Angelo creates dynamic sculptures in which the flame becomes the sculpture itself. Dynamic and in flux, Keith’s next fire sculpture will be shown in Brazil, December 2017.
In addition to fire sculpting, D’Angelo is producing a series of mixed media bricolage that aim to capture the political state of the world. This includes the collaborative project “Shoot Portraits Not People” as well as a solo project titled “Profits Over People” set to debut in 2018.
EVOKE Contemporary’s Railyard gallery space has transforms into a military cache with Jason Siegel and Keith D’Angelo’s innovative sculptural art installation, Shoot Portraits, Not People. Sniper rifles, Uzis, claymore mines and even a 1947 Willys Jeep will occupy the gallery in a jarring and immersive display of military paraphernalia. Upon closer inspection of this provocative exhibit, however, we find lenses disguised as grenades, photo winders in place of triggers and film canisters strung together as ammunition belts. Denver-based duo Siegel and D’Angelo, professional photographer and accomplished metal artist respectively, build anatomically correct weapons from sourced camera parts to create interactive and powerful installations that comment on the violent abuse of these artful machines, while cleverly exposing the shared vocabulary associated with photography and weaponry.
Due to our current political climate, blatant imagery of guns or high-powered weaponry instills a recoiling, shuddering feeling in many of us. For others, it sparks heated debate on the timely and controversial issues surrounding gun control. Shoot Portraits, Not People takes a clear stance against gun violence with the project’s overt title, but Siegel and D’Angelo also bring up an intriguing perspective through the presentation of the work itself. Their assemblage sculptures are constructed to be extremely anatomically correct; they are startling in their accuracy and resemblance of real weaponry. (So much so that cops were called on their first exhibit to investigate the illegal sale of firearms.) They’re also placed in an immersive display, transporting the viewer into an armed bunker complete with military themed props and accessories. Some responses to the project have been negative; who wants to see more abrasive imagery of assault rifles and machine guns? Once we realize, however, that these “guns” are actually conglomerated camera parts, we can relax some of our initial anxieties and curiously explore the sculptures’ intelligent and innovative construction. Some of the “guns” can even be held, dissolving the irrational fear of an accidental trigger pull or unexplained explosion. We notice the intricacies of each piece’s anatomy and maybe even begin to see the composition of high powered-weaponry as an art form in itself.
In this way, Shoot Portraits, Not People pays homage to the aesthetics of these complex machines while simultaneously taking a stance against them, or at least the way we see them being used today. “As far as taking a position with the project, it’s right there in the name,” says D’Angelo, whose social work studies and humanitarian interests fueled his enthusiasm for the project. “We walk a thin line,” adds Siegel. “It’s an anti-violence campaign, but doesn’t condemn the recreational use of firearms. It’s a juxtaposed position in the art world.” Shoot Portraits, Not People shifts the conversation on gun-violence to a middle ground that refuses to demonize the guns themselves, but stands firmly against their uncontrolled and violent presence in today’s society. The project consequently raises important questions and sparks thought-provoking perspectives on the subject, inserting a new point of view into an ongoing conversation. “The project has already realized some of its potential, but I think we have much more of an audience to reach,” says Siegel. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to benefit the victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
Shoot Portraits, Not People opens Friday, November 24th during the Railyard’s Last Friday Art Walk and remains on display through December 25th.