Hank VonHellion

photography, mixed media

The work I create is narrative-based mixed media, ranging from graffiti-based allegory to pop culture-based sculpture. The current body of work reflects upon the effects of cultural appropriation, its effect on the developing collective mindset of the assimilating body and the reaction to that selective assimilation of the “contributing” community. The work and its motivation are inspired by my own experiences as both a person of color living in a society that views its subcultures as niche commodities, and as a lifelong member of the musical subculture scene. Punk rock, Skinhead culture, Rude-boy ska and Mod culture are all cultures that have been heavily picked through, pasteurized, and commercialized by the parent society almost completely without concern for maintaining the integrity of the historical context and contributing socioeconomic factors. The works’ presentation and delivery incorporate elements of the irreverent, lighthearted and dry whit that is uniquely and immediately New England identifiable. While subject matter may sometimes be somber, its expression is carried on the back of a gallows humor that at once accepts the inherent hardships of life and laughs at the misguided notion of its imperviousness.