The striking hyper-collages of Jim Kazanjian

Portland, Oregon-based CGI whizz plays havoc with architecture, engineering and photography
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Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (house) (2006)

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Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (exterior) (2010)

2 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (exterior) (2010)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (implosion) (2008)

3 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (implosion) (2008)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (low tide) (2009)

4 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (low tide) (2009)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (chateau) (2011)

5 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (chateau) (2011)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (anomaly) (2009)

6 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (anomaly) (2009)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (folly) (2010)

7 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (folly) (2010)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (object) (2011)

8 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (object) (2011)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (outpost) (2008)

9 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (outpost) (2008)

Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (facade) (2010)

10 / 10 Jim Kazanjian, Untitled (facade) (2010)


Jim Kazanjian doesn't depend on architects constructing buildings for him to photograph; he makes his own. By sifting through photographs found online, Kazanjian creates fantastical buildings using Photoshop and doesn't even have to leave his studio. 

"My technique could be considered 'hyper-collage,'" Kazanjian says. "I cobble together pieces from photographs. Through a palimpsest-like layering process of adding and subtracting, I eventually merge these various parts together. I am basically manipulating and assembling a disparate array of multiple photographs to produce a single homogenised image." He doesn't use a camera at any point.

Sometimes using as many as 50 different photographs in one image, Kazanjian's creations have realistic textures of plausible architecture but completely implausible shapes, reminiscent of M.C. Escher's graphical works. He has a database of over 25,000 high-res images in his collection. Kazanjian, who lives in Portland, Oregon, started his freelance career in 2010 after working as a commercial CGI artist for nearly 20 years. His roster of clients includes Nike, Adidas, NASA, HP and Intel. More recently he worked as art director for Portland based computer game developer Logic Factory.

He says he focused on photography as a medium because of the cultural misunderstanding that it has a kind of built-in objectivity. His recent work is inspired in large part by the literature of H.P. Lovecraft and other "weird" fiction writers. "I am intrigued with the narrative archetypes they utilise to defamiliarise the familiar," he says. His current work is an attempt to unravel the photograph and play with notions of time, space and what it is that gives things context. Citing J.K Huysmans' 19th Century novel À rebours - a wild and gloomy fantasy, which rejected naturalism -  the images comprise bleak landscapes, tempestuous weather conditions and crumbling labyrinths.

"I am interested in how an image can have the potential to unfold and suggest something outside of itself," he says. "By this I mean something beyond the obvious and only discovered through a continued process of viewing. It is this act of “looking” that I find fascinating because it does not follow a linear progression like language but is interactive and random."

Limited edition prints of his work are available from 23 Sandy Gallery


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