Introducing: Kalen Hollomon
In the contemporary culture of Instagram art, Kalen Hollomon is gracing our news feeds with images of more thought-provoking value than a Kardashian’s milkshake. The New-York based mixed media artist allows us to see collage art in a bold, new way, while also providing the instant visual satisfaction central to the immediacy of our snap-happy generation. Hollomon’s unorthodox images are ingeniously disruptive; lewd cut-outs from vintage porno mags positioned onto unsuspecting street-goers, men in heels, Justin Bieber taking a selfie in front of a scene of war-torn suffering, catwalk looks super-imposed onto a homeless man. These bold images are always a welcome and provocative part of my daily social-media intake.
To compose his work Hollomon uses a wide range of material from magazine snippets to his own photography. These images are taken with an iPhone, depicting unassuming subway riders and pedestrians, which shows comical timing, adding a sense of spontaneity and realness. His work, while humorous, is a subtle commentary on the institutionalised norms of society and the fashion world, and their surrounding stereotypes. As stated himself, ‘My images are reality manipulation, manipulating other people’s identities.’ The images surpass the boundaries of social uniformity, unabashedly delving into what lies underneath popular culture, fashion and conventionalism. These tongue-in-cheek creations are wonderfully aesthetically pleasing, but also challenge perceptions of deeper issues relating to gender, sexuality and identity. Hollomon wittingly modifies the expected; visualising the unconventional.
Having become an Instagram sensation, Hollomon has a rapidly growing following, with almost 99K followers. He is now being embraced by the fields of art and fashion, the very worlds he satirises. He has experience collaborating with both Calvin Klein and Gucci, while also producing editorials for magazines such as Another, Interview and Flair Italy. With his work often ridiculing the feminine, superficial and pretentious nature of fashion, the irony created with these new collaborations are refreshing and different.
It is interesting to compare the compositions of Kalen Hollomon to that of Eugeni Loli (Check out our introduction to her work here). With the art of collage being central to work of both artists, the theoretical and visual approach is very different. Loli’s futuristic, dream-like imagery is substituted for the more subversive exploration of human perception in every-day contexts. But what both artists are doing is bringing two different ‘worlds’ together. Hollomon does this on a more intimate and challenging level. He states, “I try to capture a sense of romance in images that are spontaneous and slightly unnerving.”. Ultimately what is portrayed is a wide range of work, but each individual piece embodies both a sense beauty and impudence.
Words by: Eleanor