Eddie Colla is an interdisciplinary artist and designer based in Oakland, CA. After graduating from California College of the Arts in 1991, he went on to pursue a successful career as a commercial photographer and photojournalist for the New York Times before turning his focus to his personal studio and street art practice.
Over the past several years his work has been developing around the idea of what would happen if life as we knew it began to deteriorate? Would human’s uglier instincts surface as we’re trying to survive? This apocalyptic scenario of is the main theme of his upcoming show “Atavisms” that is opening @ Ian Ross Gallery on August 22nd. With these new works the artist invites us to examine the primitive instincts that exist within us all.
His body of work reflects real-world fear that plague America as the income gap widens and resources become less accessible. Colla is examining this idea with his large-scale portraits. Rendered on metal with muted colors and rusty textures, these works appear as though they were created on the walls of long time abandoned buildings. With subjects looking similarly rugged they lock the viewer in with their gazes as they prepare themselves for whatever awaits on the horizon.
Colla envisions these people neither heroes nor victims. This uncertainty is noticeable through their eyes, but also their general looks. Placed in time and situation where society’s moral code no longer applies juxtaposition of elements of good and evil becomes normality.
“For all our refinement, technology and wisdom, there is really only a thin, fragile membrane between who we are today and who we were in the past,” said Colla. “That membrane is preserved by a structure and a set of circumstances that could break in a very short time.”
While Colla’s previous work placed the figures in megalopolises on the brink of collapse, these new works invite viewers to connect with them on a more direct, human level, rather than interpret them as symbols of a larger narrative.