Chad Wys is an artist, designer and self-proclaimed “image thief.” To be fair, he’s more of an image perverter. Wys re-appropriates classic visuals from the pages of American history, utterly distorting them into gloriously unrecognizable melted and glitched-out new versions. While it’s not as politically subversive as the works of Chinese artist Lian Yibai, the “American Tapestry” series is just as visually engaging and perhaps even slightly more perturbing. Now look at these pixelated deer, bears and a practically liquified George Washington bust!
Born in raised in Illinois, Wys developed a penchant for absurd thrift store shopping. In an early interview with Serial Optimist, Wys described his fascination with all things kitsch:
“I am highly attuned to the inherent differences between higher and lower art forms (crudely put: fine art versus kitsch)…I began traveling to local thrift stores and charity shops and marveling at the objects that people had gotten rid of…You find yourself somewhat conflicted by how much pleasure you get from these thrift store objects. They’re so utterly gratifying and yet so utterly tasteless; they’re nothing but economical replicas and faint glimmers of the masterful originals they mimic.”
According to his artist statement, Wys’ work seeks to question the notion of ownership by highlighting the system of objectification taking place every day: “I often explore/exploit the idea of objecthood: how we decorate our lives with arbitrary, as well as meaningful, things,” he explains; “How we objectify the ones we love and the strangers we see; how we objectify pain and death; how we objectify complex and sensitive cultural histories.”
(Photos: Creator’s Project)