If you’re in the mood for a throwback to some outdated technology, or trying to explain to younger generations just what a “cassette” is, check out this art by Hollis Brown Thornton. He draws stacks of VHS videos, Atari games, floppy disks, and other artifacts of old media and tech using permanent markers.
Thornton’s drawings are realistic and detailed, and the names and logos on the tapes are recognizable to anyone who lived through the ’80s and ’90s. They definitely brought me back to my childhood. However, the marker adds just a bit of abstraction and keeps them from being as exact as a photo or digital image would be. This, and the choice to use permanent markers (which people often used to write labels on tapes and disks) is a really neat, meta concept. In addition, many of the pieces shows the cassettes and disks in front of kitschy, period wallpapers, with complex floral patterns.
“I use sources including family photos, pop culture, world events, and outdated media to focus on the basic idea of living in a world of constant flux. In paintings, permanent marker drawings, and pigment transfers, both erasure and fragmentation represent the imperfections of memory, as well as the desire to create incomplete templates, such as scenarios or environments, that serve as blanks to fill in, rather than specific events or individuals. The work attempts to convert digital images to a physical form, relying on the inherent characteristics of the specific media,” says Thornton in his artist’s statement.