Jimmy Trotter @ ADA GALLERY @ SCOPE MIAMI 2010
James Trotter can't be called a man of single interest. His activities
range from telecasts about the origins and history of soul music and occult phenomenon. He is a scholar of regional ebonics, teenage code and unmarked police cars.
For the Charlotte Street Foundation, Julie Rodriques Widholm wrote, "When looking at James Trotter‘s drawings it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that his artistic pursuits began as a child drawing Star Wars characters and writing graffiti while visiting his grandmother in Brooklyn. His interest in popular culture—music, comics, toys, garage sales, flea markets, and e-bay—find their way into his burgeoning toy collection and prolific drawing practice; he has made more than 500 drawings so far this year.
Originally from Miami, Trotter briefly attended KCAI and has stayed in Kansas City, making a career as DJ Superwolf, playing 1960s and 70s soul and funk records and dealing rare 45s overseas in the U.K. and Japan. Trotter maintains a three-pronged engagement to popular culture through drawings, toy installations, and music. His drawings range from quick line sketches to more elaborate constellations of cartoon characters in the vein of R. Crumb, along with food, corporate logos, body parts and records overlapping and interacting and fighting to make sense. Trotter is peculiarly un-precious about his work, which is strewn all over his studio and pinned to the wall. Trotter’s insistence that there are no “corrections” in his drawings demonstrates the conviction of his mark-making using only ink or gouache. He does not use pencil or erasers, although he has developed a recent fondness for white-out as an additional layer to the work. Concerns of conviction and correctness translate into the subject of Trotter’s work as well. He frequently voices his frustration with the United States, not in terms of politics, but more social frustration with political correctness and being afraid to say what one really thinks. While his views may seem brusque, he appears to be trying to get at the daily struggles that beset everyone as part of the human condition. Perhaps this angst is what turns him to music and toys, the safe-havens of childhood fantasy and escape. He collects vintage toys and records from the 1970s and 1980s: seeking out specific toys he couldn’t afford as a child, while others recall the abundance of free candy and toys symbolized by Halloween and Christmas. A tree-house overflowing with his toys, lights and a miniature train embodies the notion of a child’s (and perhaps adult’s) utopia of innocence. At first, I thought Trotter’s work must be a critique of consumption, but it is not. It is about value and resuscitating value into objects, ideas, and memories that are so quickly discarded.
-Julie Rodrigues Widholm