Recent projects of mine are inspired from having lived in large cities such as San Francisco. I’ve lived in San Francisco and other large cities on the West Coast for about two years. In this short time, I was witness to and part of many societies both large and small. I’ve gained by observation and experience, insight on how these communities operate. I’ve also seen how these communities can thrive or fail simply by differing in operation.
Inspiration for my work comes from investigation of our society both past and present. My work is simply a breakdown of the culture that we live in and my projects are simply records of civilization.
Many of my earlier works were intended to invoke negative feelings within the viewer purposefully to reflect the negative nature of civilization. I used foul, often offensive, images and vulgar symbols to convey the defective aspects of society.
However, in 2005, the themes and ideas that inspire my work changed drastically. I continued to use my artwork as means to improve the way we live, but works took on a pleasant more socially acceptable feeling. Since then I have expressed mainly the importance of the interaction between any and all peoples of a society.
While symbiosis and networking are most definitely the main themes of my latest art projects, I still address similar themes such as loneliness, poverty, social affairs [such as gatherings], unity, nature, and communication [via sound and/or music]. These similar themes can contribute to my main focus of society and community.
I don’t limit myself to one set of materials. The materials that I use to create my works should themselves contribute to and represent the idea and theme of the project. If a project involves Nature, I may use stone or rocks; or if I’m demonstrating light, I may choose to use glass or other transparent materials. The manipulation of such materials is expression of an idea that motivated the project initially.
Our surroundings, our environment, and our community is what inspires my work today. Objects, events, and circumstances around me inspire me and provide me with ideas for artworks to be made. It is this idea that births the project. I believe that my job as an artist is to learn from life around me, process what I’ve learned from it, and exhibit it to others and to my community for mutual benefit.
Topher writes for Culture Hog Arts and Culture Magazine.
Topher Fine Art, 2008