American Cheeses

Psychedelic pop art, Wisconsin style!

This is a very old piece, maybe late 1990s. I used to have not so much a studio as half of a dining table and would spend my evenings and weekend afternoons working away at lots of new collages. I kind of miss those days of carefree productivity, I make a lot less art now that I have all these adult responsibilities. On the other hand I also get to have a whole room for my studio and I wouldn’t change a thing about those responsibilities 🙂

Nihon Adobenchapato 2

Or “Japanese Adventure 2”

The main star of this piece is a superhero made of bread, Anpanman. My friend Rob took me to a secondhand book store in Tokyo and I scored a great book about the adventures of Anpanman and his tasty friends.

The tiny rectangles radiating between each section of this collage are subway stations from the several overlapping Tokyo rail networks.

 

Nihon Adobenchapato 1

Or “Japanese Adventure 1”

I created this almost entirely with images I brought back from my trip to Japan in 2015.

Lots of creatures from Pokemon books, a Tokyo subway map, a 50-yen coin, some traditional Japanese art from postcards I bought at the amazing Tokyu Hands – a multi-storey craft / stationery / homewares store. That’s the hand from their logo around the pink orbs in this collage.

Japan was a blast, I can’t wait to go there again!

First We Take Manhattan

… then we take Berlin!

This is quite a recent piece, from 2015. I’d had General Custer for a while and had been looking for the right place to put him. The mosasaur (or something similar, I don’t know, I cant keep up with all the dinosaurs they have these days, I’m sure there were less when I was a kid) was a perfect match and had the right kind of sneering triumph. Plus it looks like Donald Trump’s mother.

The juxtaposition between these two makes Custer look like anything but a hero. I’ve deliberately made it unclear whether he intends to defeat the men in spacesuits, or lead them to victory.

Tough Guys Finish Last

A case of wishful thinking to some degree, since tough guys often finish first.

Being a sensitive artist type, the world of macho maleness is somewhat alien to me. Rugbyheads and muscle men puzzle me.

Ok, I’m exaggerating slightly but that’s the stance I took when I created this piece. I think I did a good job of assembling images to support the theme – I’m particularly proud of Winston Churchill with an albino python wrapped around one thigh and a giant cock in his hand. Hey, I never said it was subtle, did I?

This piece sold pretty quickly so I guess at least one person got what I was driving at.

Conspiracy Theory

Do you feel like a puppet, manipulated by unseen hands?

It’s the Illuminati to blame, you know. Have you ever woken up with a sore bum? Alien abductions.

While I don’t doubt there are things that go on ‘behind the scenes’, I find many of the most popular conspiracy theories literally incredible.

I’ve tried to cast the net pretty wide here, with Big Pharma, aliens, Mayan mysteries, the Illuminati, lost Nazis, faked moon landings, and shape-changing lizard people all making an appearance.

The Spark Of Inspiration

“Where do you get your ideas from, man?”

I’m often asked that question and I often don’t have a good answer. As I talked about in my post ‘Art Club‘ last year, it’s as if I pluck them from the ether, ideas are floating around like plankton in the ocean if you can only catch one.

With this piece I’ve done my best to capture that “Eureka!” moment when a good idea hits, the character here has “eyes as big as saucers” as a great idea hits him. It’s a great feeling and a huge part of why I make art: to be impressed by my own brilliance. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way though I know it might sound like it, it’s more about the joy of doing something you’re good at.

I often think of this song too, as a metaphor for inspiration: