DARREN HOSTETTER

Artist Statement – In Our Nature

 

My paintings depict technological weaponry and military aerospace objects that are set in whimsical and alluring patterns. My pieces pit many contradictory elements against one another: drab machinery against bold color schemes inspired from commercial and lingerie design; order versus chaos; the natural world in opposition to the man-made. Although I’m working to make the symbols of the horrific power that we possess beautiful and seductive, I’m also pointing out that such powerful symbols are a reflection of our arrogance and ignorance.


I am inspired by the general malaise, anxiety, and fear that we are experiencing during these strange and frightening times since the end of the Cold War, and also from the tragedy of September 11 to the United States’ current global military adventurism. Quoting from one of my favorite movies, Dr. Strangelove (by the late Stanley Kubrick): “This is how I am learning to stop worrying and love the bomb,” I thought this statement was a completely absurd notion but a poignant starting point to make art.


As a young boy, all I wanted to do was draw pictures of jet planes and helicopters; I would build scale models of them, collect books about these machines and spend hours reading about their destructive capabilities. My father had a career doing secret work for the aerospace/defense industry, so the war machine literally put food on our table. My feelings about the proliferation of weapons and war have changed considerably since my younger days. Even though I, in a peculiar position, am still attracted to the machines, I also fear what they do and despise what they represent.