The Curse of Duplicity by Don Pendleton
What inspired The Curse of Duplicity?
I titled it after it was finished because at the time I had been reading a lot of political stories about the US election and that character in the centre just had a bit of a shady look in his eye. There are a lot of consistent lines in there and then some chaos from intersecting and incongruous lines, and that just felt like the very definition of duplicity: some truth mixed with some blatant lies.
You used to work in newspapers – how do you feel about the decline of the US local press?
It’s sad in a lot of ways. I feel like newspapers were very scrutinised on the local level, which kept them very honest and unbiased for the most part. Opinion was kept very isolated. These days with most media outlets, there is so much opinion that is projected as fact and in the process, you end up with a lot of very ill-informed Americans. It’s much easier to control their emotions: you can make them afraid, paranoid, angry… At this point, people don’t even seem to care about the truth, they simply want someone to agree with them and that has created a ton of disagreement and conflict. Add the internet into the mix and it just seems like a tinderbox ready to explode. And it’s all, all of it, every bit of it, for the sake of profit and money. “If it bleeds, it leads” has been replaced with “find the most impressionable demographic and convince them that they’re right”.
You’ve said before that you are worried that the best things that will ever be created have already been created – do you believe that is true?
I feel like there has been a giant, distinct shift in standards in what people create. These days, I see a lot of artists who are creating things specifically to appeal to people. Like they’re filling an economic niche instead of just creating something using whatever is growing in their minds. In a lot of ways, the internet has enabled a culture of facsimile and derivatives – or at least those tend to be what rises to the surface on social media – and that’s disheartening to see. I find irony to be really boring and in some ways, that has become the new language.
How does seeing your work in a gallery compare to seeing it on the street?
It took a while to get used to it and I’m not sure if I’m at the point where I’m comfortable with openings and that type of thing, but it does give you a reason to focus on a body of work that can hold a more focused message or theme. For years all of my work on the bottom of skateboards was literally printed to be destroyed. Scratched up. I was very comfortable with that idea. Sometimes it’s best to just block out the fact that anybody will see the work at all.
For more of Don’s work see elephont.com
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