Stephen Mcmennamy is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and also worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.
Stephen Mcmennamy was born in Georgia, Marietta. He firmly states that it was in South East Asia that he actually developed a different sensibility. Because as one can see from his creations, he has a very different take on the world. He is not going out of his way to make a political statement. But he doesn’t deny that he certainly intends the irony more often than not.
The humour is of course a bonus.
Growing up in the Philippines exposed him to a different culture and opened up his mind. When he returned to the States with his family – he was changed. There was no more following a straight jacket career. So he enrolled at the Savannah College of Art and Design to explore, understand and engage with fine art. But the bent of his mind was more suited for advertising. It was during his tenure at Creative Circus that he was able to come closer to what he wanted to be. And what he wanted to create.
Since then, Mcmennamy has used the ‘combo-photo’ technique to create several incredible visual mash-ups. He starts by taking 2 photos of disparate subjects. And he creates a visual texture that contests the perception of those very objects. In recent years the method has become popular through social media platforms. But Stephen maintains that what he does often takes laborious and meticulous arrangement to bring it to the point that the viewer sees it.
Why Stephen Mcmennamy?
In his own words Mcmennamy says – “I love to explore and create and the combophoto challenge really keeps me on my toes. most of the time it feels like I’m solving a puzzle. I’m not the crossword puzzle type, so maybe this will help keep me sharp as I enter into my twilight years.”
Chancing upon a collage app that he had on his phone – he created the first image of his daughter’s head morphed onto a balloon. But it was the germ of an idea that would go viral. He was as he admits, at the right place at the right time, maximising his opportunities. Because he was determined to do something creative, challenging and new.
It is not really a surprise now. But yes it is extremely difficult to replicate and pin point the exact point of his inspiration . And this is what sets him aside from the others who are attempting similar works. Stephen has perfected the art of splicing the disparate and birthing an eye popping vision.
The beauty of the craft lies in the fact that there was no rule book to go by or any set pattern that he could follow. Playing with textures and ideas let to the expansion of the new medium itself.
After working in the creative field for ten years, Stephen Mcmennamy says – “There’s advertising everywhere. I like to make the craft an art. Not just to pander, but to influence people with humour or creativity.”
This is at the core of what he does. Challenging the mind and not settling for an imagine – always trying to see if there is more than meets the eye.
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For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.