Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ransom Note

I wanted to advertise Forsider, so I painted this picture, celebrating different ages of communication. Though it is just oil on canvas, I now realize that it looks like a collage. Or a ransom note. (It's fun to think of what criminals will have to use these days, now that a wide variety of printed materials are not necessarily lying around; some people don't even care for books, let alone those fusty old things called magazines or newspapers.)

All the letters are talking to each other, and so are the colors and textures—or at least that is what I hope. The dominant letter is a logo in itself, and the guy most happy with the age of digital reproduction. Most of the other letters are more at home in the age of mechanical reproduction, rescued from book or product covers. Others are looking dated or corroded. Some characters may be so old, they don't even know about paper, being more comfortable in ancient clay.

Are they letters or pictures? One of my favorite things to see along a roadside is a billboard whose letters have left. They have gone off into the landscape.

When arriving in a new town, or just passing through it, it often looks alien. I have a strange method of making it part of the world, less alien: I imagine an upstairs window of a house, with a comic book or magazine open on a desk, wind from an open window gently shifting the pages. Suddenly the town doesn't seem alien anymore. The spirit of the publication, and the ideas of those who wrote and illustrated it, are fluttering about the town. No matter how cementy and drab the town is, it has some redemption.

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