Joe Webb's collages are ruled by contrasts, contrasts between the developed and developing worlds, the past and present, decadence and want. His seamless hand-cut works mock consumerism and the Western cults of youth, beauty, and luxury, most often using imagery from vintage magazines. Webb often targets 50s-style ad images of happy housewives in A-line dresses, but lately contemporary photos of fashion advertising, the art Jeff Koons, and even celebrities like Ariana Grande, are working their way into his work.
"Both eras of adverting share the same approach, projecting an unattainable, perfect version of reality where everyone is thin, white, sexy and rich," Webb tells The Creators Project. These newer works feel more unsettling, as Webb isn't directing his criticism at people of yesteryear—he's focusing it squarely on us. But in dealing with pictures of the present, Webb must also contend with our era's litigiousness. "Using more modern images has brought up some problems for me with some advertisers on my case, they aren’t happy with me bastardising their imagery," he writes. "But we need to be allowed to parody and take the piss out of this stuff we are force fed on a daily basis otherwise we really don’t have freedom of speech anymore."