Shop > Catalogues


My Mad Skillz

Paul Butler
Plug In Editions
21 × 27 × 0.3 cm

Paul Butler’s subject is contemporary advertising, its re?ection of urban social values, its fascination with super?cial beauty, and its glamorization of life. He works in the collage tradition by cutting up magazines and then pasting, reorganizing, and sometimes obscuring the ad imagery with materials like duct tape and vinyl. He also photographs many of his collages in order to restore to them the seamless beauty of the glossy magazine.

Collage has had a colourful underground presence in the history of art, from the Cubists of the early 20th century to the Fluxus artists of the ?fties, through to the Adbusters, sound-bite samplers and media jammers of the current day. Just as “mad skillz” are associated with hip-hop artists, so they are evidence of Butler’s creative energy and musical in?uences. Paul Butler carries the torch of collage art for a new generation, as a subversion of popular culture.

About his own work, Paul Butler says: “Collage may seem like a retrograde practice in this era of high-speed technology. Who wants to get their hands dirty when you can use clean, ef?cient technology as your tool? However, I am drawn to hands-on experience because it allows our minds to process information at a speed that exceeds even the fastest computer. Music, as we all know by now, has fallen head-over-heals for the collage aesthetic. DJs and artists such as Kool Keith, DJ Shadow, and Beck sample tracks and rework them into new, up-to-the-minute mixes and compositions, with varying degrees of recognizability or similarity to the original. By the same token, I lift images out of their original contexts (usually magazines) and then decide what I want to retain and what I want to obscure.”

Duct tape, masking tape, vinyl and discarded magazines are Butler’s tool kit in the creation of series such as Art Ads – the conversion of glossy exhibition promos into original art works, Perfect 10 – natural beauties become silhouettes with the use of black duct tape, and Positive Mental Attitude – inspirational posters featuring recycled landscapes. Process and community is key to the production of these art works, and Butler remains true to these ideas with his roving Collage Party, an event that spreads the exuberance of collage throughout the world.

This is the ?rst major publication on Paul Butler’s work, with foreword by Rodney LaTourelle, and interview with Robert Enright, and essays by Lisa Gabrielle Mark and Cliff Eyland.

  1. My Mad Skillz

Related Items

  1. spbm: Complex Order: Institutions in Public Space
  2. Cheap Meat Dreams and Acorns
  3. AA Bronson and Peter Hobbs: Queer Spirits
  4. Beck Hansen and Al Hansen: Beck & Al Hansen: Playing with Matches
  5. Marcel Dzama: More Famous Drawings
  6. Exhibition Notes: Entering the Landscape
  7. Exhibition Notes: Days of Reading
  8. Carlos Bunga, Emily Butler, and Ines Costa: Carlos Bunga: Something Necessary and Useful
  9. Paul McCarthy: Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement
  10. Meg Cranston: Hot Pants in a Cold Cold World
  11. Angie Keefer: Second Thoughts
  12. Cécile B. Evans, Cao Fei, Elsa Himmer, Lynn Hershmann Leeson, Shana Moulton, Heike Munder, Paul B. Preciado, Frances Stark, Wu Tsang, Anna Uddenberg, VNS Matrix, Yvonne Volkart, Joanna Walsh, Guan Xiao, and Anicka Yi: Producing Futures
  13. Eric Metcalfe: Laura
  14. Art School {dismissed}
  15. Pizza is God
  16. Antwaun Sargent: Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists
  17. Border Crossings Issue No. 148
  18. Vito Acconci, lynda benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Gerard Byrne, George Chakravarthi, Judy Chicago, vaginal davis, Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen & Dragset, VALIE EXPORT, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, harmony hammond, claudette johnson, Mary Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, and Robert: Sexuality
  19. David Askevold: Red Rider
  20. David Buchan: Inside the Image
  21. Eric Cameron: In the Picture and Lawn
  22. Tom Dean: The Ten Commandments
  23. Robert Flack and Andrew Zealley: This is True to Me
  24. Eldon Garnet: Trembling
  25. Douglas Gordon: Through a Looking Glass