Rodney Chang's Artist Statement on The Pygoya House as art in itself

The Pygoya House

March 18, 1996

Over twenty years ago I identified and adopted a philosophy for art as a working artist. The artwork is a stimulus targeted to elicit a strong response of feeling by the viewer. The reaction is inherent in our nature of evolving in our environment. As human beings we harbor multi-level vestieges subliminally of sub-human ancestral pasts. Great art triggers simultaneous 'hits" of these usually dormant subconscious levels of consciousness, creating intense "art appreciation" of the works even as we are dumbfounded by the explanation that "I know what I like even if I don't know why." Mental ontogeny recapitulates mental phylogeny was the theme for the book entitled Mental Evolution and Art (Exposition Press, Inc., NY 1980). The publication declared a new Transformative Psychology within which such notions about art are explained.

Even though this new psychological theory was never discovered by the field of philosophy, it has served me well over the decades as a professional artist. Unlike most artists searching for purpose to continue working through exploiting popular subject matter or struggling to develop a recognizable "personal style," my artistic convictions liberated me to pursue the essence of "art," not only hypothesized by my theory but as its ultimated validation. During this quest for the "perfect" work of art, extraordinary freedom of modes of investigation through use of the theoretical model as the modus operandi to make art, is my work environment. I have a psychological defense along with the academic credentials to test, "for art's sake," people's responses to the unuusal in their lives, such as "Da Waiting Room" (disco-dental office, NBC Real People, 1979), telephone long distance prepaid cards as actual miniature limited edition art prints ("Money Card Collector" magazine, 1995), Slap Caps Company (original art on milk caps, the cockroach milk cap/pog - the first 2-sided cap invented by myself), and now "The Pygoya House" (Parade of Homes, design award, 1995), testing the concept of approaching designing a home as an actual work of art. Such art productions leave the the viewer in awe by challenging culturally conditioned norms, a categorized fragmentation of living experience or "life." But even more importantly for me as artist is the personal satisfaction that there is "triggering" going on within the deeper recesses o the brain that dredges up aesthetic sensation never before experienced. Such a psychology of art enabled me as artist to take to the computer as fish takes to water when the opportunity presented itself. Almost ALL artist acquaintances, when the personal computer made crude art possible, avoided any association with the machine. Some felt it might taint their professional reputations. It was almost sacrilegious to use somebody else's machine and program to make art and claim it as one's own. There was/is the existing 20th century work ethic of doing one's own mundane, even tedius crafting and attention to painstaking detailing in making art. My philosophy freed my chains from such outdated concepts and enabled me to ride the magic carpet of collaboration with artisans and machines to invent new art and at an accelerated rate of development. I firmly believe my life's body of works nutured by Transformative Psychology is a major cornerstone of what "art" will be in the next century.

What does "pygoya" mean? I have come to realize after practicing the faith of this art philosophy for almost twenty years that ART IS - A CRAVING (whether by the artist or by the public) FOR PATTERN, bordering on the divine as associated with our humaness, yet revealed. What we call "art" borders what we call oxymoron. The innate desire to SEE/FEEL/TOUCH the perfect vision or yet unseen is redirected into satisfying many of our lower needs. Official portraits in our museums massage our inflated egos, past fine art relics serve as ...