The Art of Chance: Derek Gores' Portraits from Everyday Materials

Paige Simianer | August 10, 2023

Featured Artist Derek Gores recycles magazines, maps, data, and more in his lush portraits on canvas. 

The balance of detail and playfulness in each piece reveals Gores’ knack for discovery and for building seemingly endless puzzles into his works. 

Rearranging the scraps, he can form a sort of surrealist image, where from afar, a nearly photo-realistic image comes into focus. However, the closer a viewer gets, the more the small scraps reveal themselves to be other pictures, song lyrics, charts, and patterns. 

Gores builds on Dada and Surrealist ideas from the last century, especially enjoying the idea of “automatic” art and allowing chance and repetition in as part of the process. "In the collages, some of the little bits I use are deliberate, but in most, I'm trusting randomness to help build a result more interesting than I could have planned," Gores explains.

Gores’ work is inclusive and inviting, partly due to the humble disposable materials, and partly due to the artist’s drive to connect and let the viewer in. 

Artwork Archive had the chance to chat with Derek Gores about his creative process, his choice of recycled materials, and how Artwork Archive makes his art career more manageable! 

You can see more of his work on Discovery and learn more about his art practice below. 

Derek Gores, 'Official 2013 Kentucky Oaks', 30 x 40 in

Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process? If so, can you share a bit about it?

Much of the beginning is hunting for an image I feel compelled to attempt to collage and then stirring up rich possibilities for how to get there.

The satisfying part is when I discover something better than my plan.

I love when the small parts I find ripping magazines add rabbit holes of puzzling dimensions to how the image is perceived. 

How did your experience in the commercial art and apparel industry transition to your current art practice?

Those years in commercial art made me quick and gave me skills in many styles and choices to consider. 

What initially inspired you to incorporate recycled materials into your artwork?

The initial spark was a lesson from all the way back in art school—the Surrealist and Dada exercise of getting beyond intentional mark-making and letting chance discovery add to the art-making.

Until discovering those movements, I had been on a path of trying to replicate photorealist reality.

Now, I enjoy a broadened definition of making art. 

Derek Gores, 'Sea of Tranquility Pink', 48 x 48 x 2 in

What does success as an artist mean to you?

Success to me means pursuing my passions and making enough money at it to fuel the next one.

It also means inviting the viewer along for the ride and seeing the world while I'm at it.

Could you provide some insights into your creative workspace?

I have a studio, gallery, and project space for community events in Melbourne, Florida on the Space Coast.

It’s a small city, but it buzzes with the mix of space-program intellect and surf culture.

I help champion the role of art in individual expression, community storytelling, and connection—plus provide a place of innovation needed for our local tech industry. 

My work area is fairly organized, with bookshelves of magazines stacked next to my favorite pages, ripped and sorted. However, that organization goes out the window once I’m ripping and gluing for a particular piece—or often a series of several at once. 

Inside Derek Gores' studio. Photo courtesy of the artist

Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory/manage your artwork?

I researched for a few years and chose Artwork Archive for three main reasons:

  1. It looks good to the end viewer.
  2. It organizes an entire career of information.
  3. The price is reasonable.

Win, win, win. 


What advice would you give an emerging artist? 

Draw, draw, draw. 

Beware of flashy trends—pull from all your own personal interests to influence your art. 

Even make how you present yourself personal as well—online, in physical exhibitions, or in pop-ups. 

All your choices are a chance to tie to your artistic purpose. 

Derek Gores, 'Future's So Bright', 24 x 48 in

Derek Gores uses Artwork Archive to present his work professionally and organize his entire art career.

You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business. 


Share This Article
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Cookie Policy