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Cover of the Fall/Winter 2003 SFSU Magazine. Photo of Professor and talk radio show host, Michael Krasny.


SFSU Magazine Online, Spring/Summer 2003, Volume 3, Number 2.

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Alumni & FriendsArtist Keba Konte sanding a piece of wood at his Oakland studio alongside one of his photomontage works which features the photos of two young boys. Photo by Lui Gino de Grandis


Photo Finish

When the 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:

-- Anne Burke


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