by Cody Daigle, The Daily Advertiser
My work is made from product labels I purchase in unused bundles. I cut and arrange this material onto flat surfaces to produce artworks what appear woven. I attempt to alter the commercial purpose of the labels by repetition and pattern. My intention is not to destroy but to enhance the formal qualified on the printed material.
From a distance, they look like intricate, hand-woven lace or scrupulously handcrafted fabrics. The designs are at once dizzyingly complicated and reassuringly predictable. There’s an electricity in each piece, a crackling sense of movement and energy, that make each piece seem, somehow, alive.
Move closer, and the perspective changes.
Effortless patterns become a meticulously crafted series of repeated shapes. Lines of color reveal themselves to be constructed of pieces of words. And the organization of shapes and colors have an oddly familiar pull: You know, you’ve seen this somewhere before.
That tension between the familiar and the new is what makes the work of local artist Troy Dugas electrifying to see. With artwork constructed entirely from product labels, antique playing cards and everyday items like beer bottles and cigars, Dugas crafts beautifully rendered geometric marvels.
Dugas on the medium: “I’ve been using this product for over 10 years. For me, the attraction to product labels and brands began at a very young age. When we went grocery shopping, you know, and I wanted Pop-Tarts, it couldn’t be an off-brand. It had to be Pop-Tarts. So those things were early influences – cereal boxes, product packages. I have always been attracted to graphic art.”
Dugas on graphic design: “I have a broad experience with design. I’ve done graphic work, work in television, fashion design. I think a lot of artists fall into it backward, as a means of making an income. But I think when you compare graphic design to fine art – graphic design serves a purpose. Fine art really doesn’t. Both are ways of communicating but in graphic design, you have to get the client’s message across. Art is sort of a personal design process.”
Dugas on “getting it”: “As an artist, I want to give a lot. I don’t want the audience to work so hard, to say, ‘I don’t understand it.’ I want my message to be kind of uplifting. At first glance, my work is very serious, very organized. But when you investigate it, I think it’s kind of funny. Not as serious as it first appears. I think I’m creating abstract, minimal art, but with a more grassroots, related sensibility.
Dugas on inspiration: “My work is also heavily influenced by quilting, crochet. My grandmother did it. She was an obsessive maker of quilts, crochet, wonderful things. And I think that’s how I remember her. Through the things she made. That’s how she communicated with me, just not through words. So my work can do two things: It can say. “Yes I’m educated as an artist, but I’ll never forget my grandmother.”
Dugas on Acadiana: “I really love to show in this area. People here really understand the craft part of my work. And when I show here it feels like being part of the community. And I really just want to share my have work with the community. I think artists can sometimes have difficulty communicating with words. This is my way of communicating with this area.”