HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Your new exhibit ” Rip Tide” is opening on August 2nd, 2019 in a collaborative art opening with Roman Fine Art and The Montauk Beach House. Could you give us a preview of what’s in store?
DEREK GORES: You’ll see my latest figurative icons in collage. Catwalks on the beach, fierce butterflies, glassy eyed portraits.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: You exhibit around the world and have worked with some big time clients – Prada, Playboy, adidas, Loews and Cosmopolitan Hotels, TLC, the NFL, Rinascente. Is it difficult to be yourself when working with a big brand?
DEREK GORES: I steered clear for years, knowing I needed to be myself first and find my own footing. Now, if there’s a brand with a good story and reason for engaging art, I’m open to the possibility. I’m picky; I see if we click. Then I’m all in, and can create art for advertising, live events, interactive and experiential installations.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Where do you unearth the paper you use for your collages?
DEREK GORES: I recycle all kinds of magazines… fashion, travel, assorted luxurious textures… and then contrast those with bits of vintage science or pop culture. I sneak in song lyrics, old favorite toy schematics, maps to odd places. They’re semi-random time capsules for me.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Where do you find inspiration? What does it feel like when you are struck with it?
DEREK GORES: The spark can come from any point in the chain — a color, a phrase, a pose, a surprising juxtaposition. It feels… open! I love it when links are made across genres or magazine sources… maybe a song lyric in the air connects with a vintage photo and a modern texture… and we have something new. I merely orchestrate the conditions for something good to (maybe) happen.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: How do you choose the subjects of your art?
DEREK GORES: Generally my subject is the figure. A wise woman, seen before or after a daring moment. She’s real but not always a specific person; my feminist superhero.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: If we peaked in on you while you were in the middle of artistic reverie working on one of your collages – – what would we see? How would you describe your creative process?
DEREK GORES: Ah, the reverie! You’d see my hand rubbing my chin, my eyes way out on an imaginary horizon, maybe a Cure or Waterboys album ending, tons of scraps all around, and my toes tapping.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Have you ever had an epiphany about life while working on one of your collages? What was it?
DEREK GORES: Indeed! Simply to be in the flow, to have one foot in the past and one in the future, and to be open to possibilities at any moment.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: We are curious to hear more about how you have used collage on the fashion runway?
DEREK GORES: I love collaborating, especially outside visual arts. I provide live art spectacle for fashion runway shows, before or even during the show. Sometimes this means the models, brands or public get their hands on the collage scraps with me. Really gets the senses going.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What is it about collage that draws you to it as a medium?
DEREK GORES: As a young artist, I was very tight — a typical photo realist with pencil. Back then, you’d have the idea at the beginning and then 99% of the time was mere execution. After being turned on to the wild possibilities of abstraction, I found collage. Each scrap I pick up brings a history with it, and combines with all the others to form a new image, hinting at a new story out in front of us. Now, my work changes the whole way. A scrap at the end can change everything.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What has been a struggle or obstacle for you in art or in life?
DEREK GORES: Same as anyone: finding how to be the most vivid version of myself, and make a living at it. There’s no real path in art, but I’ve figured it out. Passion is the difference-maker. People know it when you are yourself full blast.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What is a book, painting, or song that you have felt connected to throughout your life?
DEREK GORES: I just love your questions! Books: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Painters: My biggies are Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Diebenkorn, Max Ernst, de Chirico. Musicians are perhaps more potent influences for me than visual artists. Favorites: Brian Eno, Grimes, Emika, Solar Fields, Bowie, the Cure and the Waterboys. Early influences in music include Pink Floyd, Neil Young, and Eddie Van Halen – anyone who expanded the vocabulary for what could be beautiful.