Juan Stockenstroom is an emerging photographic artist with an irreverent approach to playing with imagery. Curious about the way in which visual content impacts society, Stockenstroom’s work focuses on the mundane and subtle twists of everyday life, which, when forced in the post-production process creates images of intriguing visual-hyperbole.
Presenting an alternative reality is the objective behind Stockenstroom’s aesthetic. The OTHERNESS series came to life from reading about a man called Cangjie, a mythological figure in ancient China, who, as the legend goes, invented the Chinese logogram characters. According to folklore, he had four eyes with four pupils. Fascinated with the idea of how society would respond to someone with multiplied facial features, Stockenstroom began to mould the alternate beings that presented themselves.
Envisioning different people in one body, different voices of the other-selves, OTHERNESS reflects on the various ways technology allows us to present and project multiple identities on multiple social platforms. Allowing us to be in several different dimensions with others, who are also choosing to produce other versions of themselves, either with applications that improve, efface, or partially obscure their identity. Stockenstroom’s work exaggerates the merging of fact and fiction and underlines the altered social face we have become accustomed to presenting in this highly digitized era.
As a child Stockenstroom excelled at drawing and loved to make comic books filled with his own imaginary characters. Later as an adult, he enrolled in life drawing classes at Central St Martins, London. During his course, he became frustrated with the process of achieving realism in his sketches as he preferred to distort the shapes and proportions of his characters. This is still key in his work which plays out in his use of digital manipulation.
Fiction plays a big part in his work. He is influenced by the over-dramatized performance, hard lighting, technicolor and eerie cinematic orchestral music of vintage American horror, thriller and Sci-fi cinema. Other influences include Francis Bacon, Cubism, and William Blake.