Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gainsbourg Dual Pallet Portrait: Stress vs Smoking

This is a painting of Charlotte Gainsbourg I chipped at while on my breaks. It follows a very similar technique as the George Carlin piece and I found there to be some connections thematically in their work. The music she and her collaborators make is very hypnotic and can sound poppy at times. It can be very light and melodic. However, when dissecting some of the songs, they deal with tension, anxiety and personal conflict. There is an internal chaos, Carlin on the other hand dealt with an external chaos. It was fun  to try and find a common thread. They both play with this chaos, orchestrating with a calm hand. The music she works on takes on a much less aggressive form, but there is some overlapping layers. Carlin and Gainsbourg are both prominent soundtracks when I work, which lead to these paintings (I plan to do for a couple other artist before moving on).

I wanted to use this as an opportunity to play around with some bigger ideas while slowly pushing my color pallets. I used a reference photo from a magazine, so I can only really say this is half my portrait, but it served as really good practice. This was one of the factors that developed the need to make the image a little more unique. I started with playing around and re-interpreting colors, subtle position and background. While doing so I stumbled through the corridors of by brain. It also compensates for the shortcoming in capturing the likeness.

It began to bug me that it seemed to be a bit of an old fashioned, subliminal smoking advertisement. Stick a cigarette in someone's mouth + say they are cool and important = people smoke. My mind jumped to directly combating the potential for this message, whether intentional or not. I then found myself bothered by the prospect of doing an overtly anti-smoking piece.

The whole smoke or don't smoke lobby is a circus and beyond the point. I wanted no part in that contest, instead I began to contemplate why people smoke in the first place. Stress, anxiety, looking really cool. I thought about the vague number of how many years those mental ailments can take off your life. I imagined long term stress can take at least 10 years off your life. I then looked up some studies giving the average of 7 minutes taken from your life with each cigarette. So maybe there is some trade off there if the use is managed. If the occasional cigarette relieves stress for those who truly suffer from it, is there some kind of balance in combating the negative years due to stress. Most likely not. Maybe it is better to find a healthier alternative like threatening nuclear war, kind of like Kim Jong Un does.

It is interesting to contemplate the overlooked ailment of mental illness whether it is severe or as simple as daily stress. It might be more effective target opposed to trying to climb the cash mountain of resistance that belongs to tobacco, fast food and other poison slanging companies. It also may be more real than blaming videogames, movies and music. These big bad companies feed on the mental condition, if the mental condition is changed they lose their power. Maybe.


Here is a link to an in studio performance with Beck. This is one of the more interesting and unique sounding songs that got me interested in the IRM album. Possibly due to the hypnotic nature of a lot of songs, but time and time again I find this to be some of the best music for sculpting.

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