At first glance, Justin Marazita's work appears quite serious. Anatomic maps and other antiquated illustrations of people, wildlife and botanic subjects float about in planes of somber hues. His six large-scale printings on canvas now at Heebee JeebeeS are bewildering and robust, products of an intense process of collage and photography.
Marazita, 26, lightens up with the titles of his works. Many hinge on a humorous double entendre, and that includes the title of the show itself, Don't Worry ... It's Just an Appendage. One work, featuring a woman being consumed by a bristling sea monster, is named "She Likes to Swallow."
"I get critiqued about being too serious with my artwork, so I wanted to try something a little bit more playful," he says. "So this is an experiment for me."
Marazita, who hails from Indiana and majored in photography and graphic design, took more than a year to complete the images in this series. It was only within the last six months that he picked up a solo exhibit at the art gallery/tattoo parlor.
He combined studies of photography and graphic design to create the collages in Photoshop, then printed and cut them apart to build dioramas. Marazita then lit the dioramas, photographed them with a film camera, and printed the image on large, stretched canvases. Film processing creates an "ethereal" and "organic" feel, which he favors over crisp digital imaging.
"A lot of people think it's ridiculous that I'm taking something that's 2D into 3D and then changing it back to 2D, because it's a lot of work," he says. "But I still think that the end product looks a lot better than the digital [image]."
Marazita's enjoyed injecting a little bawdiness into his pieces, but remains earnest about the bigger issues they tackle, such as depression and despondency. The visual elements clue you into those themes, but the written elements remind you to keep a sense of humor.