In a previous post I mentioned my Fame Monsters project. I am the ‘featured artist of the month’ at The Printroom Lewes (East Sussex,UK). This means I have my work up on the walls of a print shop for the next few weeks. Feel free to go along and have a look before the end of April.
I’m not used to displaying my work in this way. There were definite lessons to be learned. But through the reprints, glue-bobbles and spray-mounting in the wind, I feel like I finally have something I’m happy with. And I can thank The Printroom for the opportunity and it’s support. And I can thank Nicola for working out how spray-mounting works.
In that previous post I also mentioned how tricky it is to create a likeness of someone through caricature. That was one of the challenges of the project. It has been interesting to see which have been the most recognisable now that they are finished. Another challenge was to do with fixing the theme and the message of the project. I’ve described it as a series of portraits of troubled celebrities with monster-like representations of fame (and problems magnified by the trappings of fame) devouring them. When I started drawing these famous people, I was trying to work out how I felt about them and the psychological problems they have faced. I found myself asking lots of questions. Questions like: is my portrayal of these personalities sympathetic or insensitive? Do the pictures reinforce the destructiveness of living in the limelight or uncover the fame monster idea as a myth? Would some of these people have suffered the same problems if they had not been famous? How separate is behaviour from identity? Does an image of Amy Winehouse being eaten by a giant spider-monster-thing provide an opportunity to explore public perceptions of mental illness? Should the monsters I draw represent the problems faced by each personality in an identifiable way? What colour should I paint Michael Jackson?
I’ll leave you to work out what my conclusions might be.