I didn’t know who a Tod A. was until a couple of months ago. Nor had I been acquainted with his band Firewater… [I’m usually late for the proverbial party.] However he doesn’t know me either. Furthermore, he doesn’t know that the Firewater album “Ponzi Scheme” – released by Universal in 1998 – has been fueling me at conspicuous frequency lately.
Tod A. is an expat and has been since the George W. Bush years. Given the present American landscape, need I say more? Maybe a 5.5” x 8.5” in strictly No. 2 pencil doesn’t do him justice. I gave it my best anarchist try…
Rita Ora is featured within “Paper” magazine’s October issue, wearing a Roberto Cavalli dress – which in reality is what I would call a peacock-blue color. While Rita is a sensation, that Cavalli dress just had to taken for my Diaphanous series. And whatever the blue that it is, I rendered it instead in orange. The two alien objects depicted were taken from the same editorial [photographed by Nicolas Moore – no relation] are tracings from Rita’s zig zag bobby pinned crown.
Many people without any artistic skills might view classic fashion illustrations as seemingly effortless to pull off. [When I say “classic”, David Downton comes to mind.] Those people would be so wrong. The key to creating a striking piece, I would say, has more to do with just the right amount of restraint. In this Gelatos medium image, which I call “Les Autres Femmes” [The Other Women], I’d be the first to say I didn’t nail it. And there is a story behind it – but that will remain my secret.
Les Autres Femmes
In 1956, a photographer [without credit] from the Press Association caught Brigitte Bardot while she was in Cannes. To me, the dress that Bardot was wearing in this image appeared as joyous as the look on her face:
Brigitte Bardot, 1956
Below, is my own spin – which I painted using water colors:
Okay… I hesitate to comment on this piece. But what is it to worship? Within the pages of my beaten old Webster’s Dictionary, the word “worship” – in part – includes “intense love”. Given the times, I just have to wonder. More than wonder, I painted this diptych. [Added note: I used Gelatos with water and all depicted was almost entirely eyeballed – without rulers, etc.]
Among my collection of books on Buddhism, “Tibet” by Michael Willis is a personal favorite for its enhanced colors in the book’s photographs. Tibetan monks can be seen wearing majestic hats, which are shaped like crests and appear as if they are rays of the sun upon their heads. Yet there are also more sobering photos of traditional prayer flags that have been reduced to tatters – although still casting wishes of world peace. This 8″ x 7.5″ was painted with both watercolors and ink.
“Gelug-pa” [Yellow Hat]
Yeah. Juicy, eh? Both the top and bottom panels of this gouache measure at 7.5″ wide by 5.5″ in height. Melons as muse? Must be a desire for summer…
Is there a back story here? The technical one is that this piece is 11″ wide by 7.75″ in height and I painted it using Gelatos, mixed with water. Despite the more lively colors in the elements, I began to sense an imagery of civilization’s recklessness with our environment. [Then, maybe that’s just me.]
Inspired by an image of mossy hills, I wound up painting a sort of story of the origin in the symbolic cross. In this 8.5″ x 7.5″ [mostly] gouache, I also felt compelled to include symbols of life’s four primary elements: Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. And while I am not really one for lengthy discourses of a painting’s meaning, viewing this piece on any screen seemed to require at least some clarification…
A real fashion mashup I have in this 9″ x 8″ gouache painting. While formulated from three found sources, it wouldn’t have that shadowed woman without a photo that had been taken by Willy Vanderperre. I’ll leave the painting’s story to you.
It would seem that photographer David Sims has become one of “my darlings”. Although I couldn’t find the name of the model [depicted just below] who wears this Burberry dress in Vogue’s October 2015 issue. In my 5.75″ x 9″ watercolor, I produced my colorized version.
In this, there was no plan. In front of me was 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches of space and that was it. My brush, loaded with gouache, went to a corner and I just kept going. When I felt it was more or less complete, I had sent the image to an artist friend who then deemed it [something like] very Carl Jung. I presume he had Jung’s “The Red Book” in mind. And that’s okay by me.