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Pasted Together


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As artists, Jeff Raphael and Becky Enabnit Silver could hardly be less alike. On one hand you have an expat from the San Francisco punk scene who dabbles in dark collages. On the other, a Coloradan who composes collage-like work in watercolor. His art is about content and images. Hers, composition and paintings absorbed in form. And while Raphael means to disturb the Boulder art scene, proudly anti-norm and ready to piss people off, Silver is a civic-minded member of Westminster, firmly enmeshed in the city and its arts organizations.

Yet there is a strange harmony between them. As with contrasting colors, each draws meaning and context from the other. They may never meet, but as long as they are both are part of the Boulder County art scene, they will always be pasted together.

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JEFF RAPHAEL

Jeff Raphael’s process could be known as “tortured.” His subject matter certainly is. Images of sex and death are painstakingly pasted together. Models seduce you towards burning flesh, desolate bricks and ocean docks around misshapen nudes. It’s an example of the alarming transmissions that spring from his mind in the middle of the night.

Raphael wouldn’t describe himself as an insomniac, yet he sleeps no more than a handful of hours in a given evening. He’ll wake up, take magazines or books and begin to clip, place and arrange them in the empty space next to his bed. He likes that about collage: the quietness of it, the cleanliness … the way of saying whatever you like. Unbound by artistic training, Raphael formulates pure expression and impact, trapping it all up in paste.

A product of London, Raphael remembers as a boy being taken to the Tate Modern by his cousin where he nearly kicked across the room a pile of Brillo boxes he thought were trash. In fact they were an installation by Andy Warhol. You could take that as a sign—that sort of kicking hasn’t stopped. By 15, and now in America, he grafted himself into a punk culture unrecognizable in the minds of today.

“People now assume punk rock is a guy with a Misfits t-shirt,” says Raphael. “[But] they have no idea. So when I bring that up, that I used to play punk that’s what they think: some shitty little thrash band.”

For 20 years or so he was the drummer for The Nuns: a band largely forgotten by history but honored by those who know the scene—even opening for the Sex Pistols, and meeting David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Alan Ginsberg.

Today, drumming is what he uses to beat back creative blocks, rising from his small bedside workspace stacked with books and trading scissors for sticks until he’s ready to return to the tedious work of cutting and pasting.

The art is purposefully transgressive, though he doesn’t seem to care much if his audience thinks so. In general, he likes to get under peoples’ skin. If he could, he’d shatter the preconceived sensibilities some have of art. You know, the “ bowls of fruit, a nice landscape, a nice picture of a little girl.”

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