An Artful Fake Out:
John Sparagana is in a state of distress
by Annette Ferrara
John Sparagana worries. And when he worries, whatever he worries becomes art. For a series of work called Sleeping Beauty, the Chicago-based artist "worries" or "distresses" photo spreads he finds in fashion magazines; rolling and creasing them excessively until the once-glossy pages become tissue-thin and fragile and the image almost evaporates. For our Fake issue, TENbyTEN restaged one of the Prada ads Sparagana used in his series, adding in our tongue-in-cheek fakery: blonde wig, shag instead of sand, and affordable clothes that Miuccia Prada would frown upon. Then we asked Sparagana to do his trademark distressing on this new image for our cover. It's a fake-out that comes full circle. Magazine fashion ad turned into art. Art that inspires a rip-off of a fashion ad. Then a fake-out ad that's then turned back into art once again.
John Sparagana is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Rice University, Houston, TX, and is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, IL, and Mixture Contemporary in Houston, TX.