I usually love a painting because of how it's painted, but I will give an extra mental-bias ‘boost’ to a painting where the subject is attractive to me.
What makes people like one painting more than another? Do certain paintings get more likes depending on the subject? Is this a tendency of my own?
This art aims to have a dialogue with the internet about these ideas. Although Instagram is not built for this, the picture itself can be the centerpiece of the conversation.
In this body of work, the subject of the paintings critique the main avenue where the paintings are shared. I invite the question by painting imagery that is meant to trigger an emotion of “kawaii” (for lack of an English term) or “cool” at first read, and explore the murky imagery surrounding the straight-forward focal point.
The interplay of complex emotions battling for attention on the same piece is an apt metaphor for what we subject ourselves to willingly everyday via our social media accounts.
Animals on social media are universally loved as individuals, but viewing the accounts is seen as a vapid pastime. In this series I have adopted an “If you can't beat them, join them” mentality, a little bit. Animals in general will probably always get more likes on social media than abstracted figurative paintings, even if they represent naked women. What happens if you literally mash them together in the same painting? What sort of social commentary would that invite? I’m more interested in the negative reaction because that is where the friction lies. Will people see it as gimmicky?
That in itself is a point worth making, because what are we as a society doing on social media besides distracting ourselves with visual treats? Aside from the miniscule minority succeeding at activism on social media, we are attempting to entertain each other, via memes of some sort. So then can internet memes be transformed into high art? This then leads us into questioning the forum your share your art on, and what are you showing it to the public for?
As complex human beings, we can hold room in our heads to appreciate both pictures of art and cats on social media. What we all tell ourselves as artists is that we don’t let social media dictate the direction that our art takes. I think we're all smart enough to not completely fall into that trap, but the more important that social media becomes when you make art your business, the more you start to think about the impact of commercializing your work online. This series is a way of processing what that may possibly mean to us as artists today. What part of social media is actually valuable to us as independent artists? What happens if you do your best to embrace the parts of it you actually love and express it in your art rather than always bashing the negative parts of it?
I want to tackle the issue of social media in less of a cynical way than is the norm of mainstream thought. I’d like to embrace the part of social media that people can agree is a net positive, which for the most part is imagery of pets.
We should be honest with ourselves about what we find that we're getting out of social media and not feel too much shame around it. We should not feel embarrassed about what we attracted to as artists, or the reasons that drive us to share our art with the world. As long as you can acknowledge it, embrace that part of it.
Can you kind of use the power of positivity to bring awareness to art to the general public? The layman is impressed by the skill of rendering, but we as artists learn the ease of doing that versus creating something completely original and putting your ideas into the world. That doesn't always translate to popular. So we may need to Trojan-Horse our way in via artistic low-hanging fruit.
I love to paint kittens. Rather than feel shame around base desires, I’d rather analyze my own predilections and share what it may mean in relation to society. I can look at all the best art in the world all the time. But that doesn't mean I won't look at memes, cat pictures, and anything else that's totally just meant to be entertainment and distraction. My explorations endeavour to bridge the gap between the two seemingly opposed concepts.
I’m masking off certain parts because I want the animals not to completely be a part of the surface that I'm painting on top of. Once the tape comes off, there are visual glitches where the surface I'm painting on asserts itself into the piece I'm painting.
I like that interplay of the background and the subject. It's a great way to integrate the piece into it because everything about it is different than the rest of the picture. The lighting is different. The subject matter is different. I want to feel like it's not actually part of the piece itself, even though it literally is. I want the object to feel conceptually separate from the rest of the painting, so having the tape cut into the piece itself reinforces that.
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.