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UCSB Library is pleased to present these works by Johnny Onionseed, MFA candidate in UCSB’s Department of Art. These collages were most recently displayed as part of UCSB Library’s exhibition A Call to Action: Documenting Santa Barbara’s Art and Activism, and are included in the Library’s COVID-19 Community Archives. They now reside in the UCSB Library’s Mountain Gallery, and will remain there until March, 31st, 2023.
Johnny Onionseed’s artist statement:
My collage practice is a direct result of one of our nation’s gravest (and seldom discussed) misadventures of the modern era: the dismantling of our public schools’ libraries. As many institutions transition to digital-only media centers, analog materials are being disposed of at an alarming rate, posing the risk of erasing history—along with our attention spans. Through collecting and recycling books discarded by schools, I’m able to resurrect the past and reconnect fragments of it in order to encapsulate the multifaceted feelings of the present. I aim to address and portray situations from multiple vantage points, simultaneously forcing viewers to take a stand on virtually every topic of debate from social justice to environmentalism, while maintaining hope and a sense of jest.
Johnny Onionseed is the last living descendent of USA’s most famous vagabond-pioneer-real estate agent, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman. A classically trained marine biologist, janitor, and visual artist, Onionseed upcycles waiting room magazines, info-mailers, store circulars, and withdrawn public school library books to dissect, examine and reassemble the madness of our world.
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