Visiting an art museum can be exhausting. You walk through galleries to see the grates of past times and admire, but… would it be even better if all those characters hang on the walls could move and speak… and what story would they tell? Probably disappointed by a museum visits, James Kerr let his imagination run free and found a way to give these characters a voice. When he started posting digital collages on Tumblr in 2012 under pseudonym Scorpion Dagger, he wasn’t aware that this hobby would bring him fame.
The GIFs he makes are inspired by Italian and Northern European Renaissance art. The characters of these paintings are put into different context, usually resembling everyday life of 70s and 80s. One of his favourite characters is Maarten Nieuwenhove portrayed by Hans Memling, but also Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ, Mary, apostles and others.
He makes biblical narrative prosaic and appears to be cynical about the whole thing. It also seems that his GIFs are a humorous critique of today’s consumer society.
James Kerr did some animations for Jim Jarmusch’s recent film, Gimme Danger about punk group Iggy Pop and The Stoogies. The director was missing some biographical scenes for the movie Kerr’s so digital animation compensated.
Kerr puts effort in to promoting his art and encouraging young artists. He published a book of collages which become GIF with use of AR application. Also he is a curator of online galleries of digital art. Some of this work could be seen in asa nisi masa online galleries’ virtual exhibition STOP AND GO.
We may assume that Scorpion Dagger is exploring the boundaries between high art and digital collages, questioning the use of GIF as art by mixing it with high art. He certainly is a part of modern visual culture, but…will it ever be considered high art?