Greed

‘Greed’, 36″ X 60″, oil on canvas, 2010-2011.

The idea for this painting actually started in 1993.

18 Responses to “Greed”

  1. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    Yes, 1993. It’s a great piece. Very crushing.

    I’m pleased you like my drawings. Very much. I had ideas for all the things I am drawing now many years ago. 20 years for some and 5 or so years for others.

    Why now, who knows. What is she doing in there????

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      Thank you again. Crushing is a great way to describe it. It was the intent. It was in a show in a public space recently and I think that was the effect. People didn’t want to look but they couldn’t look away. Like a car accident.
      Yes it started with Hunger which I meant to be a large tryptic Greed, Hunger and Misery, I could see it on the wall of the studio I was renting at the time. Then life interrupted as it does with most of us. It was very difficult to do large oil paintings. Hard to find the space and time to work. Its a hard thing to explain to people how you keep things inside for so long. Except of course to people who do the same thing, and they don’t really need an explanation.
      Why now? I think its because I see it in the world. It fits now.
      Thank you for visiting my work and the videos, they were fun to do. What happens inside an artists studio/mind.

  2. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    The video was real spooky, but in the end I had to laugh. Everyone wants to know “what’s he doing in there”…..people have all kinds of odd ideas about artists.The spin the cat was funny, but I hope you replayed that and didn’t spin the poor cat for hours. Unless the cat likes it.

    I’ve had a few moments of abject terror in my studio, like I was going to get caught. Caught what…..painting a picture? It’s hardly subversive. But I too, have heard them wonder “what’s she doing in there.” i probably wouldn’t feel this way if i was painting little bunnies or decoupaging flowers on candy tins.

    People in general are often busy, get behind in work projects, sometimes, can’t get back to others, and yet, they can’t comprehend life can get in the way of the artist’s work as well. Cuz you know, artists just mess around with finger paints all day until inspiration strikes and some ethereal mist invades our minds and magically makes our fingers dance.

    That’s a very good point about seeing the artwork out in the world. I never thought of it in exactly those terms. As if it’s place had been there waiting for it.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      His name was Brody and he loved spinning in his chair. He would demand it. The most talkative funniest cat I’ve ever known. But the video is looped for that part. I laughed a lot putting the video together. Trying to see if I could make something spooky and scary without anything actually happening. Just mixing paint, nothing going on in here. But there is definitely a message. My work is often labelled as anti-social, I have been ‘accused’? of being subversive, promoting discontent, critical of the world and people in general. I paint wildlife and flowers very well, but don’t always feel inclined to creating the artwork people want. Artwork can say things beyond ‘Isn’t this a pretty flower’. I feel compelled to do that if I can. Even if it gets me turned away from art shows, or asked to remove the work when it offends someone’s delicate mindset of denial. But I do try to make it beautiful too, mostly, I don’t want to paint gore, too easy, make the horror something they will look at, get trapped in the image and its message. A message transmitted at the speed of light, they can’t close their eyes fast enough, once it has been seen they can’t unsee it. Maybe that’s what people don’t like about it. Its not like reading radical thoughts where you can just close the book, or turn off the news if its bad. ‘Greed’ is an abstraction of terror, horror and violence. People should be aware of it. Greed feeds on children, the powerless, the innocent. And the ‘developed’ societies are greedy.

  3. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    I agree with you completely. I had a similar tuxedo cat, see my pet portrait section if you want. He would poke at me until I did whatever he wanted, food, play, etc.

    I know what you mean about the paintings. Sometimes I enjoy just drawing a flower or painting a toy or a pet, but sometimes I really have something to say. I’ve a project on the back burner along those lines, which will never be exhibited in its place of origin for political reasons, but that’s another story, and I haven’t done it yet, so it doesn’t exist. Yet. Who knows. I was asked to remove a painting once. It’s the one on my paintings section called The Wake. it was about a personal experience, but the people who saw it connected it with the “accidental” fires that took many lives, many children when the real estate boom hit (greed). I may have had that in mind when I was painting, but it wasn’t what the painting was about, although it may have touched upon it incidentally. I was kind of surprised at being asked to remove it, that anything I could do would have that much of an impact that enough people commented, in fact, demanded it be removed, it wasn’t a nude, or a swastika, the kind of knee jerk things. And they may have removed the painting, but I’ll bet they never forgot that image. Like you said, they couldn’t close their eyes.

    Yes, greed, misery and hunger, the most vulnerable can get roped into those chains of events if they manage to survive them. One must find beauty otherwise it’s allowing the hungry, the weak and the penniless to be considered ugly or wrong or undeserving.

    It’s true, there is something subversive about anyone not safely attached to an assembly line. Someone who has time to think. To think and to comment. I was offered an exhibit by someone last summer, she suggested I “try abstract” I was insulted for many reasons, she knows I don’t do abstract, and who is she to dictate my art like I am some sort of employee, to assume I’d be so desperate to show and the worst, to shut me up, close off my vision, to insinuate maybe her visitors would be offended by some of my work.

    The video was so scary (and perhaps scarier as an artist, knowing the mixing of those paints can be very powerful, resulting in images one may be asked to remove, that says too much, reveals a secret). I was afraid to comment, actually, except in the end, I really did laugh out loud. It forced me to make a choice. I did see a real spookiness to it, but I have done similar things, and if your intent was in fact to be humorous, I can imagine you laughing your brains out while you were putting it together. It’s a great video.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      Thanks, and I was laughing too, I had to. It was meant to frighten those who think I’m frightening with my work, and to make those who know me, my kids and grandkids, and a few others, laugh with me. I make them laugh most of the time. Good thing they enjoy black comedy. Its the artwork thats frightening, not me.
      Yes, art shows and their promoters can be a problem. I was just asked to do another one too, but with ‘safe’ artwork. That’s what they asked for. They know me and have seen everything. Watercolours of vegetables I assume. I agreed as I hope to sell, I need the money to paint Misery. Compromising principles? Copping out? Or just hoodwinking the public for cash so I can say something else they don’t want to hear. Whatever it takes to get this idea out of my head and into physical form so I can say LOOK this is the shape of the world I see. This Misery is what’s happening while they all stare fixedly at the flowers. Maybe I’m a little bit frightening, but my intentions are good. I mean no harm.

  4. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    Yes, well it will be a Misery to show the watery vegetables (no matter how exquisite they are) to paint Misery. ha. Just consider it grist for the mill.

    I would probably never do another pet painting if I had my druthers. Maybe the occasional one I really wanted to do it for some reason. Nobody is going to commission me to do the world according to me. Much of the great art of Italy exists to promote the church. Botticelli did amazing adverts.

    Safe. The local library wouldn’t show anything with a ghoul, even after I explained they were just Halloween decorations. They said it might frighten the children. It’s the adults I knew would be frightened. I’ll admit to having snuck things into exhibits knowing someone didn’t know my work. Last year after no one had thought of me AT ALL for some local shows, I got called in as a last minute replacement for someone who cancelled. I hung up The Wake with a great deal of satisfaction and priced it at One Million Dollars. The price tag was the talk of the show. Somewhat perversely, the exhibit was in an old Friary. I left for a while and when I returned I was told a priest had been looking at my work. Sorry I missed that one. What was she doing? Why did she leave?????? Boiling skulls? I had to walk the dog.

    Ugh, promoters. I’m sure there are some really good ones, I’ve known some awful ones. The worst was an out and out pervert. Knocks himself out getting shows for guys, and insinuates a lot of nasty things to women artists. The one woman I was aware he got a show for, she told me he badgered her incessantly about a very large work in progress and at the actual exhibit stuck it in a corner where no one could see it. Oh, well. Not everyone is obsessed with his own stink as he is. Funny how people can believe that about themselves. Yes, greed, misery and hunger.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      I tried the local library gallery too, with Hunger. The curator said no, not a chance, it would cost him his job and pension, someone with children would come in and complain then he would be fired. Too much fleshtone paint. I’d heard it before, including the excuse that children would be upset. Not a chance, children seem to love my paintings, its the parents that get upset. You’re right about that. Kids are far more open minded, curious about everything, and often ask better questions. The painting Hunger has only been seen in public twice. I had to open my own gallery in order to show it. Really. In 1994. It hasn’t been seen since, except on the internet, and you can’t really get the full effect of a 10 foot high painting on a monitor. Its now rolled up in my daughters basement. Too big to fit anywhere.

  5. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    I said Botticelli, I meant the sculptor Bernini. How do you mix those up.

    Your own gallery, that must have been a great experience, no matter how long it lasted. That painting must be really awesome full size. I think all your paintings would bring up interesting questions for children, adults as well.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do with my paintings when I pass away. Very prudent of you to have had children. I wonder I have a worthy niece or nephew?

    The woman at my library was Russian, with an accent, and I wondered if she’d forgotten she was in America now. Probably not. If she had come here to escape some sort of oppression, how quickly the lesson was lost. Or ignored.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      The gallery was called Bedlam. It lasted two years which isn’t bad as far as galleries go around here. There was studio space for artists to rent, and the gallery part was available to any artist that wanted to set up their own show. No juries or curators deciding if you are worthy or not.
      I’m very fortunate/blessed/thankful that I have children that love me and still visit and talk to me. I love them dearly. I’m also glad they love my artwork. They would prefer it that I don’t sell them. You should try to find someone who feels that way. The idea that an art piece is worth something, like money, frequently obscures the real value. Find someone that likes them.
      I think people who have suffered oppression are more likely to try to bury the pain. Its something they would rather not remember, even if they can’t forget. Perhaps your work frightens her. Death imagery can be hard to take for many, even if it is a halloween decoration.

  6. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    I have a couple of friends who are fond of certain paintings. Dollarwise, they aren’t worth much. Well, yet, anyway. I hope it’s not written in stone I have to be broke all my life.

    I spent some time in the hospital last summer and it was such a frightening experience, I thought this is what I get for messing around with those ghoul things, who am I kidding, I’m terrified of dying. I gave away the cow skull I’d had hanging on my wall. So, if I can scare myself with my own stuff…..I vowed no more spooky things, but I find myself reverting to character.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      Me too, the hospital thing, scared me, but all I could think after was I’m not done yet. I have to paint Misery.
      I think the only artists I know who aren’t broke are doing something else to make money. Which usually leads to them not having time to do the artwork. Its a balancing act mostly, especially if the art you want to do is troubling to the general public. Its rare to find a buyer who is into difficult art. Its hard to find buyers at all these days. So many people are wrapped up in entertaining themselves with their amazing technology. Photographers have it really hard. Everyone has a camera now, a really good one, and of course assume that makes then a photographer. I spent many decades painting signs to make money. I had to have something regular to raise the kids. Sign painting always gave me a studio to work in so I never had to stop, or give up artwork because of a job I had. Paints and space where always there. But technology has messed that up too, most signs are now done with computers and vinyl.

      • melancholiastudioinc Says:

        Agreed on technology. I know enough about photography to know I’m not much of a photographer, but I enjoy taking the occasional picture and of course, it’s how I do pet portraits. I tried a digital painting of one of my photos, and I was dismayed at how close it was to how it would have looked as an actual painting. I meant for the digital painting to be a study, but it seemed “done” already. !

        As photography has replaced much of painted or drawn illustration, I suspect what there is of drawn and painted work will be replaced by digital media. Especially with the ability to draw and “paint” onto a tablet with a stylus. With the lack of funding being granted for art supplies in school, I’m sure the day is not far off when generations of students will have never have held an actual paintbrush or pencil and possibly will never see an actual sheet of drawing paper or canvas. Digital coloring books for toddlers????

        Timing. Fate. Complete lack of predetermination? I don’t know, I paint and draw anyway, although it is only drawing I am applying myself to. Perhaps I’ve honed my talent too late, but it isn’t going to change anything, I’ll still do it.

        After having spent a number of years at an office job, I would have nothing to do with computers in art school. While there are so many interesting things one can do and quickly with a computer, the act of being so physically immobilized was too stressful, not to mention a plant I kept next to the monitor had leaves which turned brown over time in such a way they looked as though they had been burnt. That was unsettling.

        Amid all my other hospital terrors, I too, had unfinished work on my mind. I wonder if that’s why my drawing has taken a turn for the better, I’m not sure how many “somedays” I have left to study drawing. And drawing is a faster way onto the canvas than arranging photos and all that goes along with that method. I found two sets of drawings, one from the day I spent in the hospital and the other from a second, longer visit. I was drawing the same things, and yet, the two sets look completely different, the level of concentration in the second is striking. I’ll have to post them at some point.

      • graphicanthropology Says:

        An artist friend of mine uses digital media, the drawing pad I think. He also paints but not as often now. We talked about its benefits and other things, like the cost. He liked to describe it as something of a different type of paintbrush. While I could understand that aspect of it I was still stuck with the idea of where do you go with it. Anything thats slightly incorrect, like a nice curved line, is simply corrected with a click of a button. So you aren’t learning how to draw with this tool. And once an image is created digitally what do you do with it. Only on the web? Or do you print it with one of the many available printing machines. I have one of those, it prints 13″ X 19″ images on watercolour paper or canvas like material. And what I’ve noticed with those is people aren’t interested if its from a printing machine even if its owned by the artist. They want to see ‘Limited Edition’ numbers and codes to prove you aren’t just running them off cheaply. Its the biggest drawback with digital art. Where do you show it, even having this machine, the cost of ink and paper is prohibitive. And again, anyone willing to pay a good price wants to see evidence that your using the best material. I asked my friend ‘how do you make it 3 feet by 6 feet’, he said using a bigger printer. And again its the cost, where do you find a printer that will print that size, what’s the material, and how durable is the ink? We’re still at that same point right now, 4 years later, how do you get digital art out of the computer. It can be done, but its far more expensive than buying a canvas and painting it. But not everyone can do that. And thats the key with their success. Anyone with the money can buy the digital tools. The only difference between digital artists is who can afford the best and latest software. I still don’t see any that is anything more than a ‘look what I can do’ type of image. Its more about being cool and showing off the latest technology you can buy paid for with your ‘real’ job. And what do you do when your computer crashes, and they do, all the time, I know as I repair them for friends who panic, Graham, ahhhh save my computer, I’ve lost all my pictures!!! And thats usually the only concern, the pictures.

  7. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    lol, of course, the pictures. For a serious project I will use a real camera if at all possible. If I’m using a digital photo, I print it out. For general pictures, I’ll make backups, but as you point out, from one computer to the next, some may not be readable. Any project that isn’t a jpeg. The only one having any success with digital art (I think) as far as I know is an English water color artist, I can never remember his name, but he was already famous. He had been doodling and sending the images he made on his phones in emails to his friends. But I did wonder if he wasn’t paid by the gadget maker to do that. For a price you can download an image with a choice of sizes and pixels to your computer, and printing, if ever, is up to the buyer. I’ve seen some artists on etsy, doing that, and I also thought the price of ink and paper is prohibitive. I tried to sell a print or two of my paintings and got nowhere. Got nowhere with a couple of photos, too. The only way is if they are mass produced to be able to sell them for nothing, but it’s not an investment I’d make. I find as you say too, that at the local shows people want an original, paper, canvas, etc., but they are so used to paying next to nothing for mass produced art they are genuinely shocked to hear a painting could cost $400 (which is not a lot) and that an 8″ x 10″ inch painting can’t be had for $10. If you find paint and cardboard on the street and do them in five minutes (I’m thinking abstract) you can sell enough to call yourself an artist, but you won’t have made a living for yourself.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      its very difficult to make a living as an artist. I used to take watercolour paper and cut it into tiny 3 inch squares and paint mountains on them as I sat on the street where the tourist gathered in British Columbia. Never made a lot of money but I sold hundreds of them. Then one year I noticed that people were just walking past and snapping pictures with their brand new digital cameras. The sales plummeted and I decided to stop doing it. This past summer I decided to try something the same by going to the farmers market across the road from me. Lots of people watching but nothing in sales. I did get a couple of art shows from it too. But your right about the expectations people have now for prices on original works of art. They have grown accustomed to just paying for cheap mass produced prints. Walmart hasn’t helped either. Even cheaper mass produced artwork thats stolen as far as I can tell from the internet. I don’t think any actual artists are getting paid by them.
      I think I know the artist your talking about and he was paid by the gadget maker. And receives free gadgets too.
      I haven’t had any luck trying to sell the jpeg print idea on the web. If its on the web its very difficult to lock up the jpeg so it can’t be lifted by right clicking. You have to have money to set up that type of secure website and also the payment method. I really can’t be bothered. If someone, an individual, wants to print my work from the page they can go ahead. They have to pay the printing of course, but I would rather see it as advertising for myself. If a corporation took something, printed it, and was making money from it without my knowledge then I would have the right to go after them in court and take their profit. Which I would also consider free advertising for me again. The copyright is always the property of the artist, the user has to present something in righting showing the artists signature and that they gave the copyrights to them. I’ve only done that once and it was for an anthropology professor who used one of my facial reconstructions in a paper to be published. And I made sure the document stated that the copyright was for a certain limited size and number of prints. They can’t take that copyright and then print endless copies of a different size. You don’t have to embed a copyright on a digital image. And you don’t have to pay anyone to get your work copyrighted. Thats a falacy. The artist always retains copyrights unless otherwise written by the artist. But I put my name digitally on everything anyway. Its more a matter of someone trying to make money off my work that I haven’t been able to that would bother me. I know a lot of people use my work on their desktops on their computers, thats just so cool to me, I don’t mind that at all.

  8. melancholiastudioinc Says:

    Oh, the desktops, I didn’t even think of that! I considered it a compliment when a friend used something of mine as a desktop, I didn’t think, oh, yeah, people PAY for desktop images, the ones that don’t come with the computer, but they have been included in the price of the computer.

    I wasn’t sure if you had walmart in Canada. Do you have Target and Ikea too? I’ve seen some things I liked at Ikea, also some at Target and did wonder who the artists were. Ikea I think, tries to go high end and mentions some of the artists, but I don’t know what they get paid, as for Target and Walmart, I wouldn’t be surprised if they lifted the images. I’ve seen the popular John Lennon I Heart NY t-shirt design on a canvas at Target, I see that a lot of places, I think Yoko Ono probably licenses out that image. And if the companies are being run by non-Chinese or Indians or whatever, is it the Americans or other countries picking out the images for them to mass produce. I’ve heard mention designers here are horrified by the fonts used in India (to them anyone) and find the color combinations and symbols obscure (to them) and whine about how to create packaging illustrations to market US products in India.

    I remember a kid in art school anxiously inquiring about having his artwork stolen. “You should be so lucky” the professor replied dryly. Yes, any artist should be so lucky, really, as you point out, could be lots of money and free advertising. Andy Warhol was sued by the photographer for the simple flower design he copied from a photo, and the photographer recognized it and won the case. I have enough trouble making the art and all and keeping up with a website to worry about watermarks and so forth, you can get around anything really without much effort and why waste the time and expense setting that up for each picture and/or buying the software on top of it, esp. as yes, the artist owns the work period. I’d never know if someone used my pet portrait, but if they did, and if I found out, there is no question it is my work. One reason TO post them online, it gives a publication date connected with my name.

    I am really appalled anyone would photograph your artwork off the street, with or without asking. I once went to an interesting fashion show done with these really exquisite dolls, and asked if I could photograph and I was told no, so I didn’t. I asked to photograph a cake in a bakery window and was told no, but came back later to photograph it, but I’ve never done anything with the image. I live in the same city as Cake Boss (do you get that show?) and I bought a terrific cupcake a few years ago that I photographed. Lots of other artists photograph and paint desserts, even mention the bakeries in the description, but I wonder if I should leave off the Cake Boss info should I paint the cupcake. I don’t see a problem. I’m not duplicating it as an actual bakery product. I’m not sure about that one. There seem to be gray areas, I could sell a photo of street art or grafitti (which is illegal here) but if I were to duplicate the image it would be stealing from an artist, albeit and anonymous criminalized artist.

    I was looking up images on Google images. Many of the images, if you click on them, there is a white rectangle running through the middle. However, if you go on to the next photo, hit the back button to return the the previous photo, voila, no more white rectangle! I don’t know if you could download it, or “capture screen” but anyone could take a photo of the image on the screen. Sometimes when I work from my own images, I don’t print them out anymore, if I’m not tracing it, I draw from the screen and I can zoom in on the relevant details.

    • graphicanthropology Says:

      If you right click on an image it brings up a different menu with the option to download etc. I sometimes use photographs as source for the watercolours I do, animals or vegetables, and I’ve found the desktop very handy for that. Something to sketch from and you can zoom for details. But most of the time I’m painting things that don’t exist, I made that decision when I was quite young, that I didn’t want to do realism, its already there created by nature, if thats what people want as the art on their wall then they can take a picture themselves. But there are occasionally people who really do want a ‘painting’ of a cantelope for their wall. Its strange, I only seem to do realism when I’m broke and need cash. ‘Give them what they want’ a friend of mine said last year when I was at the market painting vegetables. Never thought about painting pastries. Maybe the pastry maker would consider themselves an artist too, and their design would be noticed. Yes we get Cake Boss. Canada gets all the same TV, in fact most of the TV shows here are American. Not a lot of Canadian made television. And most of that is really sad and dull, or news shows that seem to do a lot of positive government promotion things. Few people seem to question the government. We are supposed to be happy we get lots of ‘free’ things. Nobody here wants to invest the money needed to make good drama or comedy. A lot of Canadian artists tend to leave canada for the states or europe. Its super conservative here. Mostly the art market is for those who can say nothing in the most imaginative way. We have Ikea, and I think there are even Target stores in the larger cities like Toronto.

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