A self-described ‘suburban artist’, 29-year-old Connecticut based Gordon Holden is a product of the if you can’t beat it, join it internet generation. His crudely made digital collages, that he posts on his website, depict generalised capitalist dreams cut through with something more sinister. He uses humour to expose the veneer of American consumer complacency, debunking iconic US brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Disney in a superficially playful style that nonetheless points at a deep distrust of their invidious grip on the American psyche. Deliberately disposable, his work challenges the ubiquity and cynicism of consumerist society while questioning how art can function within it
There are things I create for me, and things I create for everyone else. I really enjoy the meaning of something and not having to explain it. Using found objects gives you the ability to do that because they already have an inherent meaning. I think it’s seeing something different in something that already exists, putting something else in it, calling it something different and trying to sell it.
I used to say “I want the viewer to feel this, and think of that” but I realised that isn’t my job. I can try to guide the viewer’s thoughts by piecing together words and imagery, but sometimes that feels too forced. I just want them to look at it.
I started off with creating a website and a blog but not knowing what to put on it, so I started making things like T-shirts and postcards, more product-oriented content, and then it transformed more into photos, GIF images, appropriated objects, paintings, etc. Now, the online store is part of a wider concept and acts more as a performance piece, while still being a shop.
American culture is very important in my work. It’s fascinating and extremely boring at the same time. All that smoke and mirrors… It’s glamorous from the outside, but disappointing on the inside; but still fun, in a sad, nostalgic kind of way.
I call myself a suburban artist because everyone wants to be from New Yorkor LA or London or Paris. These places are identifiable and cool, you might even say extraordinary. I am ordinary, and that’s what the suburbs are. There is always a turning point when pursuing a career when you have to decide: do you go somewhere to try to make it? or do you stay where you are and try to make it? I’m not saying I haven’t traveled or lived in other places. I have, but going somewhere else used to mean a lot more than it does today. A scene is born out of people sharing ideas, it just so happens that you don’t all have to be in the same place at the same time anymore to share ideas. I love New York and go there often, but I know too many people that have moved to New York with the dream of making it and just ended up partying too much and never being able to pay rent. Trends are changing way too fast these days and when it comes down to it, it’s very hard to maintain being something that you’re not, wherever you are in the world.