David Krovblit, originally from Toronto and now based in California, began his artistic journey with a background in photography, excelling as an award-winning commercial photographer before transitioning into the realm of fine art. His artistic technique skillfully merges traditional and contemporary methods of collaging, showcasing his expertise and versatility. While drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of collage artists throughout the twentieth century, Krovblit introduces a modern twist to his creative process.
In his artistic practice, Krovblit employs a digital-analog approach to his collages. Rather than immediately cutting and pasting the raw images sourced from vintage books and magazines, he incorporates contemporary digital manipulation techniques to scale and print them in precise sizes. This strategic integration of digital tools enables him to enhance and refine his creative vision. Following this stage, Krovblit reverts to traditional analog techniques, meticulously cutting and pasting each image by hand. This labor-intensive process allows him to craft his collages with utmost precision, achieving a seamless fusion of various visual elements.
Krovblit’s collages are a testament to his expertise in analog techniques and his ability to curate imagery that reflects both contemporary and historical aspects of popular culture. Exploring themes such as nature, life and death, science fiction, mythology, consumerism, and consumption, his multi-layered compositions captivate viewers with their thought-provoking narratives. He draws inspiration from diverse sources, incorporating references to 19th-century botanicals, vintage medical anatomy, pop surrealism, pulp art, and retro-futurism. This amalgamation of influences creates a unique and captivating visual language that resonates with audiences.
For David Krovblit, his artistic process is akin to curating lost images from the depths of time. By skillfully combining traditional and contemporary methods, he brings these images to life in his collages, infusing them with new meaning and context. The result is a body of work that not only showcases his technical prowess but also invites viewers to delve into the layers of symbolism, storytelling, and cultural references embedded within each composition.
Artrepreneur: What inspired you to become a visual artist, and how has that inspiration evolved over time?
David Krovblit: When I was 12 years old, my mother showed me a book of Salvador Dali paintings and my mind exploded! The surreal and allegorical imagery spoke to me and sparked so many ideas at a young age. I became an instant fan. His work has definitely stayed with me throughout my life, and I believe was a major influence for me to pursue art as my life’s work.
There is an incredible photo of Dali painting and a cat flying simultaneously flying through the air that inspired me to at first pursue photography. The image is called ‘Dali Atomicus’, shot by Philippe Halsman (1948). I was taken by it, being pre-photoshop, and that it took 26 attempts to pull off the picture of a levitating Dali, 3 cat flying through the air and more – the analog compositing aspects were incredible.
I would say that my process over time has one consistency that defines it: working in layers. This began in darkroom with experimental techniques, moving into digital space and blossoming in the commercial realm. I incorporated experimental techniques in the darkroom: etching, double exposures, layering of multiple layers, colorizing, mixed media over prints including pencil, pastel, oils – and still do in a lot of my work.
As I grew and gained experience I realized that photography not quite the right medium for me. I moved to collage that still incorporated some of my original photography, but allowed me to quickly access imagery and alter it much faster and in one place – it did not involve a day of shooting, models and a team of art directors – it is my space where I am free to play and create.
ATP: What drives your passion for creating art?
DK: I would say that early on, my young life was turbulent. My mother was very sick, and my father suffered from gambling addiction. In this raw, unstable environment, I developed the practice of turning inwards to connect with my feelings and issues – and processing them by doing something creative. I guess this practice always stuck with me, and became a positive thing. It has always been important to me to be creative – it’s a kind of therapy or safe place – a better option than a life of running away or burying emotions.
I enjoy the process of making art. I’m very conceptual. I need to act on the visual, thought or idea almost immediately, and I enjoy seeing it through and coming to life. It’s fun for me to create fully for myself, and not be hindered by the commercial world or what is expected. It’s rewarding to sell my work and have it collected, and to see it on display in a gallery or public space is an honor. I am lucky to be a creative person whose full time job it is to make art. This alone drives me every day.
ATP: How does sharing your artwork with others contribute to your artistic journey and growth?
DK: I think that art and its community is based on relationships and energy between people. Even though I enjoy the freedom of creating from my own ideas and for myself initially, feedback and commentary from collectors, fans, art dealers, etc. do funnel back into my work, whether it be in the way of a tweak of color or a suggestion that introduces a new theme or idea. It becomes a sort of collaboration that is so useful and wonderful as it allows me to go in a new direction that I would never had chosen had I not shared and been open to interactions with others. Sharing my work in real life or virtually allows me to find more opportunities beyond the typical avenues. I enjoy being part of the voice of the medium of collage – contributing, sharing ideas – again, it is an energy between people – we help push the envelope, push forward ideas of traditional and modern techniques.
ATP: Can you describe the overarching themes or messages that you explore in your artwork?
DK: A main them of my work is capitalizing on the beauty that already exists in the world in order to tell a new story using old botanical images (often the first time they were ever printed).
More themes in my work: environment, consumerism, consumption, human condition, using symbolism, allegory, cautionary tales, mythological and theological tales, sci-fi, inner beauty as expressed as outer beauty, humanism, retro-futurism, technology, progress, evolution, fate charging towards the singularity and ultimately becoming immortal/god-like beings, time travel, space, making fun/pointing fingers at large corporate entities to make light human’s place as consumers. I like to convey a sense of fun and humor. I am drawn to bright saturated colors that generate a happy response.
ATP: Can you describe a specific piece of artwork that pushed you out of your comfort zone or challenged your established techniques or style?
DK: My grenade sculptures (porcelain, bronze so far) have definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. Even though there were easier methods, my objective was to use the tools of the day to develop a more modern process of my own. For instance, instead of using clay (traditional for sculpture) I had a 3D model made and printed, which caused me to grow, since it involves using team members as part of the fabrication process.
Also, some of my mixed media collage pieces involving relief and multiple of resin and gold leaf i.e 5’x8′ “Lost Moon”). I had to think about its overall construction, longevity, weight, considerations for installation, durability. I realized that sometimes your work pushes you out of the realm of being an artist – you become a fabricator; an engineer, in order to realize your envisioned pieces.
3D collages (such as “Three Little Birds”) have come in many iterations in that I am always experimenting with new ways for original outcomes in that space, and not be limited by traditional methods. Again, I have to re-think the fabrication in order to realize the final piece. It’s a challenge that comes with obstacles and failed attempts. And, once you get it right, it feels amazing.
To view more of David’s work please visit his Artrepreneur profile.