For Florida born, LA based visual artist Dewey Saunders the “medium” is the message. In true internet era fashion Saunders has created an identity for himself that is not based on delivering a single product in a single medium repeatedly. Instead Dewey has a vision, and a style born of the various sensibilities of the top end of the millenial age spectrum, and he is constantly adapting his work to his surroundings and moving. In his works various media such as collage, illustration, and computer based graphic design all come together to form a visual vocabulary that speaks volumes on culture, history, and imagination. He was around before the internet, and he has embraced its flourishing to create work that resonates with folks who appreciate old, new, and especially both.
His sensibilities are contemporary, but his influences exceed the trends of today. His work is an ever unfolding series of images that embrace hip hop’s values, and champion a tropical psychedelia that only South Florida could inspire. In Saunders’ work the spectacle merges with an all seeing eye that roams like a tumbleweed through the vast sea of images that is the web, and looking becomes a central element of creation. The result is a visual aesthetic that considers everything, but only focuses on a few things, and does so with such adaptability that Dewey’s refined vocabulary can speak any language, and be heard in any setting. Through his work Dewey shows us a cohesive way to see and participate in the world that the Internet has created for us.
As much as Saunders’ work is fluid and adaptable he does have central themes, and chief among them are hip hop and his unique brand of psychedelia. A great deal of his illustrations are portraits of hip hop artists, and it should come as no surprise if you’re purusing the instagram feeds of your favorite rappers and find one of his portraits reposted. The second essential Dewey Saunders trait is psychedelia, but not a rehashed 60s copycat psychedelia. His particular brand of psychedelia relies on a pastel color palette, bizarre juxtaposition, and the arrangement of collected images into a friendly composition of outrageous peculiarity. While much art in the psychedelic tradition references the frenzied free spiritedness of an acid trip, Dewey is more in keeping with the sublime comfort of a hash pipe in similar fashion to Dada or Situationism. He depicts his surreal take on the world around us in a playful and approachable manner. While Saunders is not new to this by any means, his recent work for Anderson .Paak’s Malibu visuals has delivered him to new heights. With a body of work that establishes his competency, and a recent resume that pits him at the center of a cultural revolution, Saunders is poised to make the leap from hard working emblem of the underground to new American Art icon. -Zach Moldof (@ZachMoldof)
Photo by @TheCaffeinist