Visual Arts

Arty Girl: David van Alphen at Perihelion Arts

They always say "write what you know". I think I'll take the liberty to change that saying to "make what you know". Consider it my gift to the world (and it works for this blog, so there ya go).

Anyway, "make what you know" comes to mind when I see the works by David van Alphen, a collage artist who's show "Welcome to Netherland" will be displayed at Perihelion Arts starting this Friday, June 5th.

Judging from the work above, I'm sure it won't shock you to learn that van Alphen was a child of the 1970's. I mean, one look at the funky plaid jacket, dated stereo and rainbow swipe rips us right back to the days of kids playing Atari while mom and dad's dinner guests smoked inside.

Van Alphen's works not only nail that funky 1970's aesthetic, they also express the feel of that era. With his jumbled up visuals, the viewer experiences a quick montage that causes a flood of memories to happen all at once. That might be the same wallpaper your mom had in the kitchen and you suddenly smell her home cooking. Your dad may have had that stereo and you sense the shame you felt when you got in trouble for touching the damn thing. Perhaps you'll simply squirm with the reminiscent itch of that coat jacket.

Or maybe you're old and you remember owning these items yourself. Either way, he'll bring you back.

Van Alphen has lived and worked for the past eight years as an artist and gallery curator in Chicago, IL. He acheives his nostalgic imagery by cutting and pasting visual elements direct from their source - no modern day photocopying or scanning for this guy. Most pieces are small to accomodate the size of the original cut-outs.

From what I've seen, I've got high hopes. I think the works are hilariously clever. Not only are they viscerally reminiscent, but they pair themes of love and accomplishment with commodity. I hope I'm as impressed with the show when I see it in person as I am from what I've scoped on-line.

You can see a preview of the entire show here and see the actual show this Friday from 6-10 p.m. at Perhelion Arts where van Alphen will be greeting guests.

"Welcome to Netherland" is on display from June 5-28 at Perihelion Arts, 610 E. Roosevelt St. in Phoenix. Opening reception, June 5th from 6-10 p.m. Visit

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi