This week we have an interview with Jeff Scott, a graphic artists who used Elvis as the subject as some of his work.
Jeff Scott travels across the United States photographing small historic towns, which he calls our lost cityscapes. His unique large scale Polaroid transfer works are created using his original photographs, which he then re-photographs and scratches onto watercolor paper. Then by painting and drawing upon the print, he altars the literalness of the subject, giving each piece its' nostalgic feel.
Can you share a little about yourself with us?
Jeff Scott, age 38, an artist from Dallas, Texas. I have just completed a traveling exhibition of historic America. I wanted to move to address cultural America and chose Elvis as a subject to reflect issues relating to our current fascination with celebrity culture. Now is a time of great reflection in our culture, and I believe that America is yearning for a look back to our evolution as a modern society. Elvis' life affords us a roadmap for that nostalgic time.
Are you an Elvis Fan?
Yes, big appreciator.
What made you choose Elvis As A Subject? And which other artists or personalities would you like to use as an object?
It has always upset me that Elvis' early life and career have not been the subject of a more serious focus in the world of fine art, instead so much energy has been devoted to a misrepresentation of what Elvis really meant to our culture. Elvis Presley is a great subject. Not only for all his amazing accomplishments, but for how his life represents how we as a society tend to project our feelings, wants and desires onto celebrated figures. Our society focuses great attention on individuals of unique talent with little regard for how our constant adoration can alter the behavior and invade the privacy of those we choose to set apart.
Why did you use items like Elvis' gun or his police badge? These aren't the first items you'd expect. We see no images of Elvis as a artist, that's of course a big part of the icon everybody knows.
I thought it ironic that for someone who started out making parents fear for their children's' safety, the rebel and danger he represented, Elvis had this very clear fascination with authority figures and collected the artifacts which they represented. These personal items I believe serve as visual metaphors for deeper ideas within Elvis' life and behavior. Elvis chose to surround himself with many unique objects, and these objects metaphorically reflect character traits that Elvis possessed or sought to possess.
We have a few questions we ask everybody, what is your personal favorite Elvis single, album and movie?
My favourite single is "Thats All Right", album "Rhythm And Country" and movie "Jailhouse Rock"
How do you remember Elvis' passing?
I was 14. I just remember a great sadness and those images on tv down the boulevard with thousands of crying souls. I remember hearing so many disparate opinions about what Elvis's life meant and how he impacted our society.
Which question did we forget?
You didn't ask what people should get, emotionally, from collecting my artwork ?
The entire point of this work is to strip away the idea of Elvis as an icon and to remember that he was just a fella. A journeyman moving through life with the insecurities we all have, deeply affected by the forces of nature, and deeply affected by the constant attention we bestowed upon him.
I want for the viewer to have this artwork in their own environment , where they can relate to Elvis in a very personal, quiet way ...... becoming deeply connected by the humanity of Elvis. This work allows both the Elvis fan and serious art collector the opportunity to get in touch with what moved Elvis and offers some clues to his behavior. Also, this artwork features unique items such as Elvis' own drivers license and the badge that President Nixon bestowed to him .... offering, through what he carried in his pockets, a deeper insight into the man.
Jeff's artwork can be seen at the following galleries across the country.