This work rearranges corporate icons to construct a new mythological narrative for post-capitalist society. Santa, the bearer of gifts, the symbol of material comfort, the patriarch of a consumerism, succumbs under the weight of society in greed and excess. Here his traditional characteristics became his own undoing as he offers himself gifts of the cola he sponsors. Then, spiraling downward into a whirlpool of vice he is spat out, shamed, defeated, and emasculated.
My intentions with this piece were to reintroduce humanity to a cultural icon and thereby make it malleable and then to mold it so that a new myth might take its place. Santa Claus here can be paralleled to Oedipus as a patriarch of societal values. The fall from grace intends to demonstrate in full prophetic glory the error of our ways in greed and excess.
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Mind in the Gutter or Mind in the efficient sewer systems of our modern cities
oil on canvas
61" x 61" x 3" in
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I identify as a portrait artist as that is my particular skill. No doubt many surpass me in the craft, but a portrait by definition is a symbol of the person. My work aspires to reach past the sign pointing to the person. I am making two-dimensional imaginary friends; a faced crafted in resemblance but with an inner life that exists independent of the subject. The signifier is the painting, but what is being signified is the person as he or she exists in the viewer’s mind. I ought to title a piece “Portrait of the Idea of X.”
The human subject and figurative work has a clear draw for me. The human subject is simply a conduit for speaking of humanity as a whole. Shifting perspectives are the best means to view a whole. One subject reveals one or many personalities, but as an integrated whole, my work attempts to attain a broader perspective of my subjects. From here I can view a unified personality where I may make a comment on the human condition.
All this inventing of characters has taken a toll. If portraits somehow peer below the skin, then there shall be no bounds to my prophetic zeal! For my current projects I have begun working with large-scale figurative portraits. The increased scale alls for narrative possibilities to increase exponentially. The imagery is dark and cynical but radiates warmth and affection for the subject matter. The works themselves will consist of narratives rearranged from pop culture, corporately marketed mythologies, and biblical as well as archetypal myths.