*1982 in Saskatoon, Canada
Chad Coombs was born in 1982 in Saskatoon, Canada. His early theoretical and especially practical occupation with paintings was affected by former attempts to reeducate his left-handedness and not entirely corrected defective vision. The camera gave the young man the possibility to accept his disability and to transform it positively. Due to the medium photography he could overcome the restrictions, which he experienced in painting. Like Richard Avedon, Chad Coombs wants to disturb and arouse the viewer, to make him feel and think. In many cases he focuses on issues and problems of the globalized world. Sometimes very subtle like in the series Future Wildlife Portrait, sometimes very radical like in the series Photoganda. Chad Coombs works were published by national and international magazines. In 2008 Chad Coombs followed an invitation of the David LaChapelle Studios to New York and worked two weeks with the team of his favourite photographer.
In his current series of Polaroids, the Canadian photographer Chad Coombs (born in 1982) creates photo collages, which combine the analog instant photography with the opportunities of digital image processing. Coombs’ women’s heads, which he finds in the internet, serve here as a basis. After the digital revision, the pictures are photographed with a Polaroid camera. Subsequently, the artist works on these analog photographs with pen and paint-brush. The overpaintings and the scribings appear as white ornaments on the Polaroids’ mostly black backgrounds – and resemble therefore the international art nouveau around 1900. Furthermore, Coombs’ techniques of processing refer to another stylistic development at the turn of the century, as his manipulations seize the approach of the then art photographers, who revised negatives and positives with both mechanic and chemical procedures, with the major intention to approximate graphical and pictorial pictures. However, Coombs’ scribings and overpaintings do not lead to an overall pictorial aesthetics, which in general is perceived as beautiful. Instead, his technique emphasizes particular neuralgic parts of the face, mostly mouth and eyes, which he stresses in a lascivious and erotic way. The manipulations alienate the faces and, in parts, skew them up to unrecognizability. Occasionally Coombs overwrites the Polaroids with rephrased lyrics: In his works the familiar song “Sweet dreams are made of these” is continued by the pithy line “all yours are full of disease, lies and untruth”. The alienations’ surreal handwriting complete and underline the statement of the twisted visual motif. Within a spectrum which encompasses everything from exaggerated spotlessness to defacing deformation, the artist Chad Coombs contrasts the illusion of accomplished beauty with the grotesque grimace. Ultimately, he resolves this contrast in distracting dreamlike aesthetics.