trashback 2: bitches

I was planning on uploading these images only after the series was complete, but it's looking less and less likely that that will ever happen, so here they are.

These 6X12 inch paintings were originally intended to be a trashy, pinup take on the four horsemen of the apocalypse (I was thinking of calling the series The Four Bitches of the Apocalypse), but I never finished War; she's currently languishing under the couch in my basement/studio next to a bag of staples. Here, however, are Famine, Pestilence and Death, revamped and looking hot.

I was heavily influenced by Tara McPherson and the lowbrow artists at the time, and so we have a lot of bright, bubblegum colors and retro, cartoony themes going on, as well as a heavy helping of the macabre.

In addition, we have some of my recurring themes. Pestilence is an Exterminator, breathing out noxious fumes, exterminating people instead of bugs. This image has actually become a larger piece that looks very similar, only with ladybugs, and is currently in progress. Death is a Skullhead, which is only appropriate, and I've updated her apparatus by replacing the traditional scythe with a .44 Magnum--the Dirty Harry gun. It was my first time painting a gun and it was actually pretty fun. She also kind of looks like me. Famine is really the only all-original character here, and she's sort of a perky college girl gone bad. I used the concept of bulimia and eating disorders to represent famine, a sort of modern look at the way famine manifests in societies like ours.

These paintings also have the unique feature of having the sides of the canvas painted--the part of the fabric that folds around the stretcher bars--though you can't see it here. Some artists do this all the time, but I typically don't. On the practical side, it makes handling and storing the wet paintings very difficult, and I also feel it's a waste of time. Some argue that it eliminates the need for a frame, covering unsightly raw edges, but I don't see the point. Besides, I feel that the sum of the painting should be what is happening on the main surface, and that painting the side creates a distraction at best, and reduces the painting to merely a decorative object at the worst.

But these are merely decorative objects to me, and I think that's what inspired the painted sides. Obviously paintings are decorative objects, and I'm not trying to elevate them far beyond what they are. But to me the side-painting practice seems kind of dumb and cheap-looking. Of course, these paintings are meant to be dumb and cheap-looking, so there you go.

In case you're wondering, War is a cheerleader. If I ever get around to finishing her, I'll post her.