Oakland artist and photographer Keba Konte (B.A.,
'94) exhibits his work, one person after another will come up to
him and ask the same question: "How do you do that?"
Konte works in a medium called photomontage on wood. He shoots a 35mm
photograph and then transfers the image onto a flat piece of wood using
a chemical process that, for proprietary reasons, he does not talk about
in detail. Once the image is on the wood, Konte adorns it with anything
that suits him -- oil paint, gold leaf, nails and rope. Sometimes he blackens
parts of the image with a blow torch or inlays a small print photograph
onto the surface.
The effect is dramatic but disconcerting. Since the transposed image is
translucent, the surface of the wood shows through, giving the original
photograph the look of an illusion. If an image of someone's face is transposed
over the natural grain of a piece of wood, the effect is that of a reflection
in a pond.
Konte, whose work is exhibited nationally, creates his art in the garage
of his Oakland home. He likes to work with discarded stuff, like old headboards,
broken pieces of dresser drawers and especially old wood ironing boards.
"What I really like is wood that has had a previous life. If I use
an ironing board that is 50 years old, everyone will bring a little something
different to that. Maybe that's what they learned to iron on, or it makes
them feel kind of nostalgic," he said.
The Art Gallery at the Cesar Chavez Student Center will exhibit Konte's
work Feb. 5-March 3. The artist will host an open studio March 6 and 7.
For more information: www.kebakonte.com