For a couple of years now I have been keeping images of New York artist David Hochbaum in my secret art files. Not that anyone in my house is even remotely interested in what I am up to when it comes to my art obsession. Still, David Hochbaum's work is haunting and mysterious. It has the strange appeal of old alchemy manuals mixed with surreal poetic beauty. Looking at his images speaks to my dark side and never fails to make me want to create something new, I hope it will have the same effect on you.
He calls his technique photo-construction. He uses layers of paint on top of photographic images taken of live models and props. I love the symbolism and the fantastical effects of impossible proportions between people and things.
I suspect his work might have been inspired by George Melies (image above), pioneer of visual effects, trick photography and "magic theater" in the late 1800's. I can see similarities between the two.
He was quoted saying "The female is the source of ultimate truth and beauty. She is the genesis of all life".
You can see that in his work the female figure is always the central character, the source of the story.
To develope his latest work David Hochbaum traveled to Japan to research its folklore and mythology. He worked on representing yokais, Japanese spirits demons and ghosts.
This is his interpretation of the rokurokubi, a demon who passes for a regular person during the day but has the secret ability to stretch her neck, spy on humans and terrify them at night.
And this is his take on the futakuchi-onna, a female demon with two mouths, a normal one on her face and an insatiable one in the back of her head. Her hair is wild and moving like serpents.
I am always curious to know what very talented artists look like. I believe that David Hochbaum looks just like you would expect him to after seeing his work. He would have made an excellent actor in an old black and white French film.