Private Residence, Delray Beach, Florida

“It’s All Derivative, Brigitte”, Feb. 2019

It’s All Derivative Series

In the “It’s All Derivative” series Claps comments on the practice of appropriation and veneration in the art world by combining borrowed imagery from the past with the visual language of Morse code. “The series originally came about as I was thinking about my influences - both in my art and in my life - and I started playing with images and artists who have influenced me the most.  I began to realize that as much as we want to complement ourselves for all the “brilliant” work we’ve done in our lives, nothing we do is totally original - it’s all derivative on one level or another.”

Claps was initially drawn to the Morse code as a way to make his works more narrative, but in a subtle and mysterious way that invited viewers to investigate the work further.   According to Claps,  “Morse code was the first digital code of the information age, but it is no longer used, so it is both modern, but with a retro aspect to it. This is really important to me, particularly with the series “It’s All Derivative”, which comments on art historical ideas, which reach back in time.  Additionally, I like the code’s simple, clean elements, which I can distort and abstract in interesting ways to fit the images in my artworks.”

Claps’ works express a search for the motivation and meaning behind artistic expression, as well as a questioning of his place in the continuum of art history.  “As an artist, unless you’ve grown up in a windowless room, it’s impossible not to have been influenced by all those who have come before you, and you need to pay homage to that.”