Artist Jeff Falk Merges Past and Present
Katrina Montgomery The artist as Pigoletto, a character he assumes for performance pieces
Best of Phoenix hits newsstands Sept. 26. In conjunction with this year's Vintage Phoenix theme, New Times is collaborating with R. Pela Contemporary Art to present "Hot Plate!" It's an exhibition of one-of-a-kind, Phoenix-inspired commemorative plates made by local artists. Leading up to the show's Oct. 4 opening, we're profiling each of the contributing artists and visiting their studios. Today: Jeff Falk.
Jeff Falk is an artist inspired by memories, so it comes as no surprise that he spends a lot of time in thrift shops. The objects he finds there are often incorporated directly into his work, which can best be described as mixed media. But the memorabilia is also scattered about the old house that he and his wife, fellow "Hot Plate!" artist Annie Lopez, have been renovating in midtown Phoenix for the past few years. Though Falk was born in Kansas, he has made a home for himself in the Phoenix art scene, of which he's been an active member since the early 1980s.
Katrina Montgomery Falk's workspace
Falk's artistic methodology is heavily grounded in creating intricate textural backdrops through layering of paint or collage, in an echo of the layered nature of history itself. The nostalgic undertones in his work are strong (almost overtones, really), but the connotation is not exclusively negative. In regards to his art, Falk writes, "the subject matter is sometimes dark (for memories are a mixture of dark and light, love and pain, as is our day to day living experience), yet I believe there is also a hint of hope and redemption in my work."
What's your earliest memory of Phoenix?
I am so old that my earliest memory was in March 1959. I remember being downtown with my folks one spring evening. (The area of Washington and Central due east thereabouts.) There were at least two movie theatres in the downtown then, The Fox and some other place whose name escapes me. I stood looking at a movie poster for the film King Of Kings and Jeffrey Hunter was playing Jesus. I remember thinking this ain't Wichita.