Beautiful but Anonymous Art by Barry Mangham

Barry ManghamI have a constant complaint about people who publish on the internet: a lot of them want to remain anonymous. I understand this to some extent when it comes to political bloggers. And I understand it when people are writing about their struggles with drugs or pedophilia or any number of other things that would cause them to be ostracized. But I see this tendency toward anonymity related to totally benign activity. And nowhere is it more common than among graphic artists.

I ran into this a couple of month ago when I featured a photo collage by Kassandra. I posted an image called Opium Dreams, which blew me away. All of her work is outstanding. But who is she? Certainly a professional based upon her work. And I think that she is Russian. But why hide? The world wants to know about you! And in her case, I would certainly like to know more about the craft of what she does because it isn’t pure photography. I can understand the desire for privacy, but I suspect that most people remain anonymous by default. They aren’t writers or they don’t realize that people would like a little context for their work.

This is the situation with an article I discussed a couple of years ago in an article, The Beauty of Abandonment and Decay. The artist is Barry Mangham who uses the moniker Pixog. I have been able to hunt down a little information on him. Over at 500px, he wrote, “Taking photos is purely a hobby for me. I experiment quite a lot with post processing…” I like that. It goes along with my general belief that our society is overflowing with unheralded artists of great creativity.

Given that Pixog doesn’t seem to mind that people post his work as long as he is credited, let me present some of his stuff that I find really compelling. The first is Abandoned Bumper Cars Prypiat/Chernobyl. You should click over and see it at full resolution, because much of the detail is missing here. He provides the following description, “Abandoned bumper cars found in the amusement park in the city of Prypiat, Ukraine. The city is preserved in time, having been evacuated in 1986 due to the explosion of reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.”

Abandoned Bumper Cars Prypiat/Chernobyl

I love back-lit photography. This is something that friend of the site Robert Langdon excels at. This one by Pixog is very much in that style, Sunset over the Slovenian Coastline. He describes it, “A shot of people on a pier, silhouetted against the setting Sun, near Ankaran, Slovenia.”

Sunset over the Slovenian Coastline - Pixog

He doesn’t do much black and white work, but what he does do is really stark as you can see in some of his work at 500px — specifically USA, New York, Broadway. But I just love this one, B&W Balloons at Dawn, “Hot air balloons rising up at the same time as the Sun.”

B&W Balloons at Dawn

Go check out the rest of Pixog’s work. You can purchase it for things like wall hangings. You know: buy one, take it over to Reprint Mint and have it properly mounted. A lot of them would make great Christmas gifts — much better than the worthless crap people normally buy.

But I do wish these artists would be a little more forthcoming with who they are.

12 replies on “Beautiful but Anonymous Art by Barry Mangham”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    My thought is that they want their art to be what is discussed, not them.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      I understand that. But Mangham cares enough to have made me put his name on a photo I used previously. And the artist who created Opium Dreams is a professional with an agent. She wants $250 for that print, which is about doubt what I’m willing to pay right now. But maybe in a couple of months. I do a tremendous amount of anonymous work. But it seems wrong to put your name on your work and not provide a context for it. Although since writing this, I learned that Mangham is a Chemistry PhD student at University of Nottingham. So that’s something.

    • James Fillmore says:

      That’s a good point. Any artist’s aware how cults of personality affects the art world (some cultivate it, some avoid it like bubonic plague.) Quite quickly a powerful artist (say Banksy) can become someone whose work is admired because it’s “by” so-and-so, not on its own merits. That’s got to be terrifying for anyone who enjoys putting thought and emotion into their work.

      Few writers fall into this trap. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have tried using fake names to see if others would read their work minus the famous name, but both were exposed fairly quickly. Most famous writers whose books get bought or articles get published not because of quality, but because of the name, are perfectly fine with this. (Tom Clancy had ghostwriters do books for him and put his name on them; James Michener used grad students to do most of his work, and I’m pretty sure Faried Zakaria does the same just from looking at his books.)

      So most writers who take pride in their work and are virtually unread would love more credit, since maybe then more people might give our stuff half a chance and look at a sentence or two. (Not necessarily for money.) There’s no worries along the lines artists have, that you might become a collecting fad among assholes. That’s at least the way I think about your observation.

      • Elizabeth says:

        At least Al Franken was honest about how much he was ripping off the students Harvard gave him. He even put photos of them in his books.

        • James Fillmore says:

          And he actually wrote the final version. Some of these folks are so lazy you can spot where the authorial voice changes pretty easily!

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