The activity we call art making is at its core visual problem-solving. My work is about the problems that I encounter on a daily basis. Most of those problems are the same problems being confronted by well over half the people in this great nation we call the UNITED States of America. But, even I am getting tired of hearing about how bad things are and I know that things are going to get much worse.
If you are reading this, you must be interested in the meaning of the images I am working on, or you are just very bored. Either way, you are probably thinking about, or trying to solve similar problems. Working on the images posted here has been a way for me to grapple with and channel the frustration and rage I feel about my federal government being dismantled by a white nationalist with no intellectual or moral compass.
I know that I have no influence on the national debate and really little influence over anyone or anything. So my first visual response to the presidential election was rhetorically aimed at those people I know that voted for hate despite claiming to be "God fearing". I revisited an image that I have posted about before, as a way to visually convey my perception of the hypocricy of their decision. The image below is intended to represent what happens when you believe that nationalism and/or political ideology and/or militarism are blessed by God.
I plan on doing more versions of the Aerie Bomber (posted below) dropping Jesus bombs on marauding Mexicans, sinister Somalians and insane ISISians, but I am very easily distracted and start lots of new projects before I complete the ones I am working on.
For example, below is a picture of a few of the versions of God Bless Amerika in progress right now. While I was working on these images, and before I flipped Jesus on his head, I wanted to see what it would look like if I made Jesus into a scarecrow.
My first thought was that it would be heavy handed. I know, I know; you are probably saying to yourself; "Attaching a crucifix to the body of an eagle is not that extraordinary?" So, in my defense, I always tell my students; "You never know where too far is until you get there".
As I started to look for scarecrows, I realized that my favorite, highly intelligent, lovable scarecrow looked a little bit like a Klansman.
The image at the top of this blog post is the in progress version of the scarecrow Jesus. The detail below is part of the reason I began to work on something else.
I liked this image a lot, but there was something about it that troubled me greatly. Hooding Christ made me feel like an executioner. But as I was drawing, I noticed that the hood looked like the beak of an eagle, which was a very happy accident. The serpentine repetition at the edge of the hood reminded me of a Renaissance ruff. As I was searching for pictures of those, I realized that I had forgotten that clowns used to wear ruffs and that made me very, very happy (See below). But it was the weird face on the image above and one other thing I found while searching for clowns and scarecrows that made me pause on this image.
Clowns and scarecrows led me to Halloween and it was there that I discovered candy corn. The importance of candy corn will be explored in part 2 - два ("dva") of this post. But if you would like a hint, and be entertained and educated at the same time, watch this video.
If you would like to see some of my visual research for these images; I have been saving most of them on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/eyriestudios/the-north-carolina-bureau-of-make-america-great-ag/