Memphis, TN | Sculpture, Mixed Media
St Francis Elevator Ride (the artist occasionally known as Josh Breeden) was born, reared and educated in the great state of Tennessee. He received his BFA in graphic design from the University of Tennessee at Martin before defecting to Memphis. By day, he earns his keep as a designer at local creative agency, Loaded For Bear. By night, he maintains an exhaustive procession of freelance projects because he can’t turn off his brain.
SFER’s body of work blurs the line between design and fine art, incorporating both commercial and experimental elements. The artist has always been drawn to a type of faux nostalgia for lives not his own: grainy photos of atomic families posed in cigarette ads, impossibly clean typefaces from Mid-Century tool and die catalogs, offset prints with taut halftones that hint at stories hiding just below the surface. He primarily composes in pixels these days, creating digital collage illustrations and animated gifs, but his truest loves are texture-laden mixed media adventures, hand-screened prints on paper and fabrics, and analog collages.
Lush Interiors is a new collection of mixed media works aimed at exploring sensual machines, a term the artist uses to describe the mechanized trappings of modern life, as we all become increasingly enmeshed with our gadgetry. Common household appliances burst apart to reveal human anatomy and vegetation, both in various states of bloom and decay. From a distance, the works appear as vibrantly colored, otherworldly scenes, but a closer viewing reveals grim details: human teeth and headless birds, rotting tissue and melting organs.
The extravagantly macabre, though often comical, images represent the ways our intended conveniences often become burdens that weigh us down and define us in unintended ways.
Lush Interiors features two types of compositions: direct to substrate digital collage prints on birch plywood and multilayered, three-dimensional assemblage pieces constructed using the same printing technique with panels that have been intricately milled and cut by a CNC router.