I have no idea how people are going to react to this work, which is the first in an intended series. Someone who knows my work AND knows the state of the art world might see a strategy here. But the first thing I’d hope people would notice is that it’s a traditionally beautiful painterly image, regardless of the subject.Next the subject matter is unavoidable – a monster with boobs. And here I’ll reveal my strategy for infiltrating the art world, which until now I haven’t been able to attract any attention from. The boobs! Anyone who follows online art magazines like Juxtapose, or Hi Fructose, knows that NSFW art makes the cut. One of my friends didn’t know what NSFW stands for, and it’s “Not Safe For Work”. The blue chip art world is virtually inaccessible to an artist like me, at least at this stage, but online art magazines take submissions and with the right body of work, I might be able to get them to showcase some of my work. But I don’t do erotic art, so the boobs are a kind of compromise, and not without a sense of humor and a bit of punking the art world. They are the Trojan Horse to smuggle in my monsters. Y’know, on one level I’m saying, “You want boobs, HERE are you boobs!” So I’m doing it in a bit of a subversive or defiant way, but it still fits comfortably within the framework of my own art that I really like to do, and may legitimately appeal to those mags as well.
And normally I’m not a monster artist either, nor do I intentionally work in series. I’m fairly against it as a practice, because artists too often try to find themselves a distinct style, then market their work as a “brand”, and get stuck in that niche. Unless ones style kicks ass, that can be a trap. This series for me includes so many of my techniques, interests, and approaches, however, that I think working in a series will be productive.
This work has a lot of ambiguity and marriages of opposites. Obviously I’m working the attraction + repulsion angle. It’s digital but it’s impasto. It’s science fiction, but it’s expressionism. It’s beautiful, but it’s hideous. It’s classical in its painterliness but the subject is modern. It’s tragic and a bit funny (because it’s like a joke but treated very seriously)… Generally I think it might be a bit heavy for a lot of folk, though. I think this image is obviously beautiful, and if it makes people uncomfortable and few people “like” it than that is a sign of success.
The series allows me to use my imagination a lot, in a way that’s challenging and fun. I have to come up with different monsters. And it interests me because I have no idea what the images are going to look like. There’s a very wide range of possibilities, but what will hold them together is 1) the monsters 2) the boobs 3) the painterly style [which is my own digital painting technique I’ve been developing for years and am still honing]. I’ve been working really hard on this technique, and especially on the final polishing phase to remove artifacts from the process. Yeah, yeah, yeah, why don’t I just make physical paintings? Working in this way there’s no formula for me to follow, because I’ve devised my own processes, which makes things a lot harder in some ways, but I don’t know of anyone working in quite the same way, so for me it’s unexplored territory, which makes it more interesting. Plus I think I’m getting results that would be very difficult to achieve in conventional painting. Anyway, like I said, I have no idea what creatures I will come up with, in what poses, with what backgrounds, and there’s only one way to find out.
It touches on the human condition, identity, gender, technology, mutation… This piece has a kiss of the original Outer Limits to it, in this variety of monster, which I just made up on the fly. Its right eye is very 50’s – 60’s sci-fi. So there’s that bit of nostalgia for the imaginative yearning of sci-fi when it was relatively new.
It’s not work intended for children, the corporate boardroom, or most people’s homes. What else is new with my art? However, without the monster head some people might quite like the landscape in the background, or else the breasts. But those elements wouldn’t interest me without the monster head pulling it all together into one peculiar brew.
For me it seems fresh. I’d think it might appeal to fans of Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Van Gogh, Monet, Eric Joyner, Glenn Brown, or possibly George Condo… I also think enough of these, say 6-12, will be hard for every art venue to completely ignore.
I’m hoping to knock out about 2 of these a month. This one took just over two weeks, but I was also working out a lot of the technique, experimenting with it, and typing a bunch of notes to keep track of all the stages and various tools and settings I use.
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