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  • Randall Jason Irvin

When I Fell in Art

The universe opened up to me. I was reborn. The possibilities to create and express myself multiplied into infinity. Thrown into the deep end, I just started swimming. My life had changed forever. New ideas surrounded me. I knew then I wanted to be an artist.


As far as I can remember, I loved to draw. I’ve done it all my life, but my view of art was limited until the introduction of Dadaism. This was in high school, and my mind exploded. At first, I couldn’t understand what was going on. The movement was already 75 years old when I discovered it. So not only was it new to me, but it was working it’s way to becoming a century old. 


During my discovery, I was already expanding my world with music’s subculture, with the likes of Joy Division, Bauhaus, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, and Suicide, to name a few. With the addition of Dadaism, the way I thought of the world was evaporating and being replaced with an entirely new way to see.


Dadaism blew up everything that art had become and started the whole thing over. Anything is now possible. A urinal is now art, as Marcel Duchamp showed to us in 1917 with Fountain.



I came across a painting by Francis Picabia called Love Parade the other day, and it reminded me of my beginnings. Francis Picabia was one of the main participants of the Dada movement, and this piece, in particular, is commonly used when discussing the movement. It was one of the first paintings that I saw, and I quickly took to it. This is where it began for me.



Love Parade is not my favorite painting, but it was a very influential one. It is a bizarre machine-like figure placed in a strange environment. It makes no sense, however, compositionally, it is a real delight. I began to understand that art is more than just representational work, but a medium to express ideas any way you like.


I thought it would be fun to give this piece a spotlight and talk about this moment in my life. For if it was not for my introduction to Dada, I’m not so sure I would have ended up as an artist.


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Montgomery, Alabama

© 2016 by Randall Jason Irvin