Comic collages with an impact

Orange Coast College photography instructor Richard Kraft displays his massive collages in his comic book exhibit ”Flag Sail Wing,” open until Dec. 5 in the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion.

Boom, kapow, wham!

Artist Richard Kraft’s colorful, deconstructed comic book exhibition, “Flag Sail Wing,” is on display at Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion.

According to Kraft, he assembled the gargantuan collages to represent the world as it’s happening now.

The collages feature mostly older comics because Kraft enjoys the hand drawn aspect of them and the way the colors pop on the newspaper-like paper. In addition to the comic pieces, Kraft used various materials from “A People’s History of the United States” to “The Iliad” to depict the chaotic world as he sees it.

“In my experience, the world is multiplicities, which is there are many, many things all happening at once,” Kraft said. “In the artwork, I would like the viewer to have a sense of all of the things that are going on at once.”

When Kraft isn’t collaging he teaches photography full time at OCC, a job he has had for the past 17 years and counting. Along with his photography, he has produced books, performances and other pieces for public spaces.

“I really liked [Kraft’s] idea of photo, it kind of gave me a better perspective of the art itself,” 20-year-old photography certificate student, Leo Vaucher, said. “I saw the passion that I have, in him.”

Along with his tangible artwork, he is known for his performance art such as a piece he did for West Hollywood called “One Hundred Walkers”. Students and staff from the college collaborated with him and other performers to participate in a walk around the city wearing sandwich boards with unique photos on them.

While the artist is originally from England, Kraft came to New York for college to study photography at Parsons School of Design and has been here ever since.  Kraft said he enjoys living in the U.S. and the feeling of being a foreigner.

“Even though I’ve now lived in the United States longer than I lived in England, I still feel like it’s new to me and I like that,” Kraft said. “When things are new you look at them in a slightly different way and I like that perspective.”

Arts pavilion director Tyler Stallings said he had been aware of Kraft’s artwork since before he started at the gallery and jumped at the opportunity to work with him. When Kraft pitched the comic book collage idea, Stallings liked the idea of going back to the origins of comics especially due to the huge resurgence of superheroes in the past decade.

According to Stallings, the energy in the piece is palpable.

“What’s really cool is that you can feel that sense of him being there applying all of these little things and it’s just kind of insane,” Stallings said.

Kraft spent a year and a half creating the exhibition and he will be on campus Thursday at 12:30 p.m to lead a tour of his work.

“Flag Sail Wing” will be open until Dec. 5 in the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, which is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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