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Don Fritz  Santa Cruz, CA


* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.


About Don


My work has evolved from an early interest in Pop Art and icons of American pop culture expressed through popular imagery and cultural artifacts. I explore visual symbol for what it represents both literally and metaphorically.

I am fascinated with the psychological disavowal that is required to live with and accept the pervasive cultural narratives of childhood, power, and gender. Simultaneous acceptance of contradicting information is rooted in these narratives. Childhood, as a concept, is a place charged with fantasies of freedom and innocents. It is addressed in my work by appropriating familiar imagery and reconstructing it on an image surface in a self-reflexive and highly material approach. Through techniques of layering and erasing of visual element conflicting ideas and develop a trace of my psychological process. In reworking the surface, each layer brings me further into the dialectics of the issues being addressed.

Toys and children’s books become objects of ritual when in a culture like ours they are imbued with conscious and unconscious meaning. The various meanings are based in cultural constructs of gender and power. To illustrate the construction of childhood imagery, larger-than-life ceramic sculptures of iconic toys and books demonstrate a banality that comes from being oversized and heavy while also fragile; mimicking the duality in childhood mythology. I use humor to juxtapose the underlying presence and psychological consequence of the menacing cultural narratives intrinsic in children’s toys and books. Power is trivialized and becomes symbolica accessible in stylized toys such as guns, jet planes, and rocket cars where the violence is hidden under their glazed surfaces.


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10 of 13 reactions displayed


you've a excellent blogs right here! do you want to make a few invite posts on my blogs?

this really catches someones eye for about 30 seconds. i really liked it but it is not the type of art work i would persue in my art studys. i belive that many people would like this but i dont belive this is my style.

This mans ceramics are extremely well done;not only is his technique pretty solid his work with glazes is amazing. Plus all his symbolism and ideas really come together cohesively in this medium. However, I am not particularly fond of his other work, it looks like a 50's ad campaign threw up on dirty canvases.

Hmm!- I never felt the need for Dali or Picasso to explain what was going on in their heads for me to understand what was driving them, or understand what they were getting at!

I think it's interesting to hear what artists have to say about their work. I am an artist also, and I enjoy learning what is in another artist head. For me, many times this knowledge adds to the visual experience.

I personally find it reminds me of the new youth interest in tattoos. To collect all that is pop culture. Just like it covers billboards it has started to sink into bodies an mind to define people.

Don, I love your work. I am an artist myself although amatuer, for lack of a better phrase, and I feel inspired to push on with my own efforts as I look at your wonderful pieces. I for one am glad to be able to read about the thought process and feelings behind the art because it makes the art even more interesting, and it informs me as an artist. I am sure there are other artists out there who also will appreciate any artists thoughts on their work, after all, art is one of the beautiful ways that humans can express themselves with very few limitations, and those expressions will be valuable to us all as a common species at least. For example, is there anyone in any culture who doesn't know how it feels to navigate the perils and contradictions of childhood? Or how many people must have felt comforted by seeing Pablo Picassos Guernica when they shared that experience with him as a people. Yes, art can be simply appreciated for it's aesthetic appeal alone, but as I found out after years of making art on my own and then taking an art history class, the deeper you delve into art works the more fascinating they become, and I gained a new appreciation for art that I had previously disliked or ignored. Educating viewers on the processes and philosophy of the artist has many different benefits and if the explanation is "ad infinitum" to you, you don't have to read it.

I love this work, (encaustic?) but I am in agreement with the first commentator-I don't like to read what and artist feels or any sort of explination. As an artist myself, I dont' care what people think of what was in my head or my intentions at the time I create a piece. It's personal. period. But I always want to learn about materials and technique.

Don, I like your work, and would love to see them in real life. I was just visiting Santa Cruz for a week last month. When I return there again, I will try to find your work. It seems your pictures capture some of the Santa Cruz mood and sensibility that I love--I can almost touch the boardwalk. I am familiar with Darger's work, and I like his as well. Your work seems to have moved further ahead incorporating texture, pop, color and such in a fresh and pleasing way. The Darger influence is welcome. Your treatment of the subject matter is appreceated.

Eh, you can always skip the explanations and just enjoy the pretty pictures. Also Darger focused most especially on drawings and found art images of young girls in an attempt to tell a grand tale.
These lack that narrative aspect, and while, yes, somewhat evocative of Darger's work and probably a little derivative, stand well on their own as abstractions of those ideas of childhood innocence.
My only complaint is that they seem somewhat cluttered, but I feel like I could come back to these works again and again and discover something new each time. I like that.

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