This piece was part of a series of paintings concentrating on reinterpreting well known works of art in the context of the undead. I chose Di Vinci's Mona Lisa because I wanted to visualize a psychological zombie rather than the blood splattered, flesh eaters I typically do. The painting is a blend of images found with Google searches for Mona Lisa, and nose bleeds. The short version of the story behind the painting is this, Lisa's got a drug problem. I feel the same way about Atlanta, which is why I submitted it for an art show in Atlanta. I'm sure that some people thought she just got beat up, or had a migraine head ache, but could just be a viewer in denial. This isn't the first time I'd used visual references from the internet to create art. I think the web is a good source, so long as you can use what's already there to make something new.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Les Glaneuses (The Gleaners) by François Millet, 1857
Gleaning is picking for field scraps undertaken by the poor. It faded out of existence as a result of the efficient industrial revolution. The Gleaners was attacked by some for its depiction of the rural poor, either as a reminder of class division, or grotesque realism, which has no place in fine art. There is always room for the unattractive in art. Millet’s painting has been interpreted as a protest to the systematic extermination of the poor. If you think about it, the economically disenfranchised are already dead to the capitalist. Maybe not dead, by undead since they can still be employed as unskilled labor. Think about that the next time you watch Shaun of the Dead.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I was asked by my friend Scott to draw up a board graphic for his company Boulevard. He said I could draw anything I wanted, so I asked if he was sure because apparently, I don't know where to draw the line. He said it was o.k. and I made him pay for it. While coming up with concepts for this project, I was already working on the seven deadly sins as told through the life of Christ. So I asked myself, How hard would it be to crucify yourself? I thought it was funny. He didn't. Nor did he think it would be a good image to sell in the Bible Belt. I actually came up with the idea a long time ago when I still lived in Atlanta. I showed the rough sketch to a few people and they thought it was great. Of course, anyone who liked it lived in poverty. So, nothing has changed. The board never got made because religion has ties to economics. Societies have convinced the poor to stay poor and not complain about injustices because class division maintains structure within that society. And the poor voice their complaints to their white jesus, instead of their white president in hopes of receiving treasures in heaven rather than useful things here on earth. Anyway, the person responsible for Jesus' crucifixion was himself, not the Jews.
I spent a semester studying propaganda and art, specifically the Mexican Muralist Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. What prompted me to read about this artistic movement was a statement made by Rivera claiming that "if you are not an artist making propaganda, you are not an artist." I won't get into my issues with Rivera at this moment, because what I want to focus on is possibly the greatest artist from Mexico, Jose Guadalupe Posada.
I'm sure that anyone with a taste for margaritas on Cinco De Mayo has seen his work plastered all over the local taco bar. His skeletons are drawing in a style of his own, and he was not afraid to use them to criticize the politicians of the early 20th century. I'm mentioning this because propaganda and art are related, but can exist apart from each other. The semester spent on propaganda was also dedicated to painting portraits of friends and family based on how I remembered them, as opposed to how they wished to be viewed. In other words, the sitter in portraits traditionally propagates themselves to help create a flattering image for the canvas. Parade of the Dead takes this relationship between the sitter and painter, and reverses the roles of propagandist and audience. Here I have painted my friend as a float among a day of the dead parade. Why? She can't watch horror movies because she lives in the woods by herself. Completely understandable, and unforgettable. Funny thing is, I have an easier time remembering her fears than I do remembering her face.