Allen Ford

Allen Ford

My work is an exploration of how our minds can transform the formal elements of advertising into a free and artistic expression.
 
I created these collages from advertising posters ripped down, torn from, and peeled off of hoardings and walls in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. In their original form, each poster was the result of an intentional creative process directed by marketing and design teams. Decisions were dictated by business goals, creative briefs, target audiences, and budgets. Every element was considered and directed towards a specific outcome. Once these advertisements have been pasted and posted on the streets of cities, their makers have ceded absolute control of their work.
 
I've chosen collage as a medium because it so beautifully reflects how we experience and remember the things we see. And advertisements have become such a large part of what we take in.
 
That fact bothers some people, but I'm heartened by how well we've adapted as a culture. We think, "Oh, that's an ad," and move on. We may remember a striking detail, but we often don't know which company is attached to it. Later, we may potentially buy what the ad is selling if it's useful and if we've made an effort to remember it, but usually we don't.
 
In other words, familiarity has inoculated us against the virus of advertising. That's a far cry from the big fear that many people used to have about advertising taking over our minds and programming us to buy things we don't want, like automatons.
 
Instead, we

My work is an exploration of how our minds can transform the formal elements of advertising into a free and artistic expression.
 
I created these collages from advertising posters ripped down, torn from, and peeled off of hoardings and walls in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. In their original form, each poster was the result of an intentional creative process directed by marketing and design teams. Decisions were dictated by business goals, creative briefs, target audiences, and budgets. Every element was considered and directed towards a specific outcome. Once these advertisements have been pasted and posted on the streets of cities, their makers have ceded absolute control of their work.
 
I've chosen collage as a medium because it so beautifully reflects how we experience and remember the things we see. And advertisements have become such a large part of what we take in.
 
That fact bothers some people, but I'm heartened by how well we've adapted as a culture. We think, "Oh, that's an ad," and move on. We may remember a striking detail, but we often don't know which company is attached to it. Later, we may potentially buy what the ad is selling if it's useful and if we've made an effort to remember it, but usually we don't.
 
In other words, familiarity has inoculated us against the virus of advertising. That's a far cry from the big fear that many people used to have about advertising taking over our minds and programming us to buy things we don't want, like automatons.
 
Instead, we

transform the specific images, taking them in new directions based on our own experiences and perspectives.
 
Similarly, by recombining the details from the posters in new ways I've stripped away the original intent. By leaving each rip to chance, but using juxtaposition and contrast to guide the compositions, I've created new associations that introduce a playful and benign randomness. I've taken the flat and one-dimensional originals and added depth, texture and shadow that invites new layers of interpretation.

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