Over a period of 2 days I made 15 images of artists as Cyclopes. You can see all of them in the gallery below, and then if you scroll further down you can see the before and after, find out who the artists are, and read my commentary about this small series. I think it’s best to just look first and have your own ideas or responses before finding out anything about my intent, or lack thereof. They are in reverse order, with the last completed ones at the top.
These pieces are mostly intended to be humorous, or just odd, and were something I did as a break from my more serious or technically difficult work, as I’d just finished a piece that had tested my mettle a bit. I started making them and continued to do so until I ran out of steam, and wanted to move onto something else.
The inspiration came up unexpectedly from making a custom graphic for my blog (as I frequently do), in the post about the origins of conceptual art. I discussed Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q., which is the piece in which he drew a mustache and beard on the Mona Lisa.
If you are curious about what I think about this, you can read it here, but my first artist Cyclops was a response to his work. Oddly enough, when I think about it, I also do a lot of art pranks, many masquerading as art criticism, or as a sort of Trojan Horse to make salient points about art. Mine, however, are considered completely insignificant. Anyway, I find mustaches and beards boring, so I decided to alter Duchamp’s image in a way that agreed with my own sensibility and preferences: I made him a Cyclops with antennae and sharpened teeth.
It only took a few minutes, tops, but the result has a sort of resonance. I’ve also been interested in painting or drawing over photos for a while, such as in some of the works of Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Sophie Derrick, and Andrew Newton… So, I just started drawing over other artists to make them into Cyclopes as well. I gradually moved into color, then making them somewhat more realistic, lost the antennae, and finally switched to altering artist’s self portraits in their own style.
Oh, yeah, there’s nothing against these artists, and some of them are among my all-time favorites.
Since I alreadty mentioned Duchamp, I’m going to share the images again, paired with their sources, and starting in chronological order with Duchamp. [You can click on any of them to see an image in a separate tab sized for your screen.]