Now, folks, if you are at all familiar with me or my work, and you are the type of person who doesn’t just look at something for a split second and then click “like” ’cause it reaffirms whopping cliches, you may sense that something is amiss.
You may suspect an experiment or hoax is at hand. You would be correct. Fortunately most people will never read down this far, because, well, nowadays people have more of an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter mentality, where everything is summed up in a single image and a snappy sentence. It’s fortunate because if they get this far, they might be offended.
Let them enjoy the mindless, sexist, treacle that is this image, designed to cater to people’s appetite for gilded cliches. It’s not even a photograph at sunset. I used a stock image of a ballerina, made it into a silhouette, and superimposed her on a beach scene. Why? I’d seen lots of people using this easy trick and getting accolades poured over them. I did the same with the Pelican.
If you pay attention you will notice the Pelican is shitting, and the shit is going to hit the ballerina or gymnast in the face. People don’t look that closely. Of course you can’t really tell where the Pelican is in relation to the woman, and thus the trajectory of its expelled waste also can’t be determined. However, it’s definitely possible she’s about to get an unwelcome surprise.
Why did I ruin an otherwise lovely image? I just can’t help myself. I lack the gene for selling out. I have to subvert mindless drivel as art, and deliver instead a Trojan Horse mocking sentimental kitsch and facile, glib, easy techniques. It’s a parody of bad art.
When I originally shared this on DeviantArt, back in 2012, it was an instant success. People loved it, and far more than art I’d worked infinitely harder on, and hundreds of times as long. It received the following glowing critique:
It’s been nearly 4 years since I dumped this garbage on the public, and since then I’ve produced a lot of new work, including things I’d never have imagined and which exceeded my own expectations of what it was possible for me to do. However, my work tends to get deeper, not more shallow, and so the mass appeal is not there, and my guess is that the Ballerina at Sunrise will get more positive response than, say, my latest piece, or all my work put together.
This is easy to understand. In a nutshell, people like the conventional. Me may even be hardwired to like the conventional. But if you are an artist, and you are into discovery, and trying to go beyond the conventional, you won’t appeal to those that want the familiar, expected, standard…
Yes, I think it’s a little cruel to dupe unsuspecting clickers into liking a bird crapping on a girl’s head, but, if they can’t be bothered to read about the image, and don’t look at art for more than a split second before coming to a conclusion on it, they kinda’ deserve it, and besides, they’ll never find out. And they really should notice the bird poop.
If you are an artist, and not a sell-out kitsch manufacturer, and your work gets no recognition or sales, you can occasionally get a little fed up before getting right back to work on your next piece, and other strategies.
Don’t feel bad if you like it though, because I did make it to my aesthetic standards, and it’s supposed to be visually seductive, even if it’s a joke.