Hella More Funner, Artist Feature in Asterisk SF Magazine

Information overload is all too common with today’s readily accessible images, text, and video. Even language reveals our dependence on the Internet, with the word google not only referring to a company but also being used as a verb in lieu of search. The Internet and social media have become ubiquitous in our daily routines. Need an image of a dog? A cat? Or how about a dog holding a cat? You will probably find what you’re looking for. As a matter of fact, you will probably find over 1 million images and more.

Ask artists Sam Fuchs and Adam Gray— commonly known by their moniker, Hella More Funner—about this deluge of images. The art duo has incorporated this constant stream of communication, imaging searching, indexing and everything we feed the Internet as fodder, inspiration and the basis for their large-scale collages. The resulting artwork looks at the current generation and how it’s inundated by data, immediacy, gratification and a voyeuristic obsession of viewing ourselves and others.

Since 2007, Hella More Funner has created works based on re-appropriated imagery of culture. When asked about their studio practice and creative process behind their artworks, they noted, “Obsessiveness is the key; we are connoisseurs of Google Image search, aficionados of Flickr and buffs of Wikimedia Commons. We copy and cut and compose images by the thousands without concerning ourselves with trivialities such as the subject’s historical origins, owner attribution, or a perfect and direct connection to the theme of the piece. And it’s not just us. Our process reflects our peers. … We start with an idea, decide on categories of images that relate to that theme, and build an archive. The archive serves as a trail of breadcrumbs for us and building blocks for the collage.”

As visual archaeologists, they showcase our relationship to popular culture through large-scale works such as “Cielo” or “Beachy Head,” which entice the viewer with bright and audacious colors. Standing in front of one their works, it is easy to find one familiar image after another. Even with unfamiliar images, the massive collection of photos meshes and blurs together to create what looks like a mythical creature, being, or landscape. Much like our own experiences in sifting through email messages or virtually stumbling and clicking on morning headlines, Hella More Funner has taken familiar behavior and created collections for the viewer. The longer we look, the more we realize the amount of information we take in, and it may lead to a sense of anxiety and angst. Either way, the work provokes the viewer to perceive far more than the tiny images that make up the whole.

Whether the work appears as a meditation or effrontery to the senses, Fuchs and Gray show what they have coined as a “garbage culture.” The collective defines this particular phrase as “anything that serves to distract or delay any real and unmediated experience—a connection with another person, for example. It is in everything that promises happiness and youth, every product that promises the bikini babe, every ripped athlete selling a cheeseburger. Garbage! You know it when you see it.”

However, is the viewer able to give up looking at some point? Hella More Funner’s phenomenal, meticulous, and labor-intensive compositions aim to make contemporary art, well, hella more funner. At first glance, the works may be more than you can visually handle but, let’s face it, you know you want the cute kittens, the six-pack abs, the beautiful women, football players dancing in clouds, dolphins midflight, rain-soaked flowers, and angels fighting demons, because it’s all present and ready for consumption. It’s all there for you and your viewing pleasure.

Originally published and posted to Asterisk SF Magazine, please click here

Click on Debbie Harry look-a-like to learn more about Sam Fuchs and Adam Gray (aka Hella More Funner)

Hella More Funner is an art collective consisting of Sam Fuchs and Adam Gray. We have been working together over the Internet since 2007. Our process involves obsessively collecting thousands of images and icons from the Internet and collaging them. Glorified drug abuse, subcultures, fame, overproduction, waste, capitalism, politics, and hyped-up fads are the themes in these convoluted compositions. As we unwittingly developed a religious devotion to modern life’s input overload, the Internet has become our deity.

~ Hella More Funner, Excerpt from Artist Statement (Source: Artist Website)

Last weekend, I watched Full Metal Jacket. Being a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick and a sucker for a well done war film, the movie was phenomenal. Naturally, I thought of the various ways war has been depicted in the visual and new media arts. Admittedly, I’m not huge fan of political art; HOWEVER, when it’s done well, it can be powerful and truly engaging. From visual to performative, the artists below have created some of the most memorable pieces.

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During a Feminism & the Arts course, I studied Martha Rosler‘s photo montage works of the Vietnam war.

Artist: Martha Rosler | Title: red stripe kitchen (Part of 'Bringing the War Home' Series) | photo montage | 1967-1972

Currently in draft mode, I’m working on a zer01 piece on new media art that serves as both political and social commentary. One of the artists I’m looking at is Joseph DeLappe and his work, ‘dead-in-Iraq’.

Artist: Joseph DeLappe | Title: dead-in-Iraq | Interactive | 2006 - Ongoing

The conceptual work of Chris Burden possesses an extraordinary and rather dangerous level of self-sacrifice that works extremely well. His work STILL gives me chills. Talk about physicality and gesture – his work is all about that.

Art collectives epitomize the adage, ‘Power in Numbers’, and the Tool Shed Days is a collaborative effort that created the interactive piece, ‘Befriend a Recruiter’. Please watch the video and share your reflections. Again, I am working on a piece and will be discussing them a bit more in detail…In the interim, I would love to hear what you think – positive, negative, or indifferent.

Befriend a Recruiter from artfail on Vimeo.