The engraved barrel of an antique revolver delicately sits atop the head of a lone bicyclist as they pedal through a desolate landscape that's been flipped upside down in the surrealist scenery of artist Jay Riggio. His collaged works project bizarre narratives out of an overlapping mixture of found materials taken from discarded books and magazines. Riggio describes this process as bringing new life to once forgotten imagery.
All of Riggio's works are cut and pasted by hand without a computer. In an artist statement Riggio writes, "The time-intensive analog nature of the medium opposes the ubiquitous digital age, while directly evoking the unprocessed emotional honesty that is at the core of his works."
Riggio has always been obsessed with the notion of storytelling. He began by writing poems and short stories, eventually shooting film and taking pictures. At the beginning of his career, Riggio says he would paint over polaroids he had taken, "manipulating the image in order to change its context was something I immediately was drawn to." One day, Riggio says he started cutting up old magazines and putting objects in hands that otherwise wouldn't be there. "I would do stupid shit like place a dildo in the hand of a smiling middle-aged woman," says the artist. It's through these odd pairings Riggio considers why we feel certain images should or shouldn't be placed together.
Through his collage Riggio attempts to dissuade, or at least distract people from this bleak world view and present the world as a tragic, yet beautiful and inspiring place. The title captions of each piece is where Riggio has room to reflect on a work's perhaps less evident themes. With titles like How I remember you then. How I remember you always and Before the Beginning and Beyond the End, Riggio can provide context to an image that reflects an existential dialogue.
Despite their lighthearted appearance, Riggio says a lot of his works comes from a dark place in his mind. The artist feels that the act of creating is a way for him to assuage painful personal thoughts as well as, "temporarily form some order in a world that, to me, is full of disorder."
Check out more work by Jay Riggio on his website.