By happy coincidence - serendipity! - (I will get tired of this, but not before you) the exhibition is on for 23 days and since there are 23 paintings, for the sheer hell of it I will be posting about a painting every day throughout . . .
Carole Lombard - SureShot Screwball Angel. Acrylic & mixed media on paper and canvas 70 x100cm.
Also available as an A2 (42x60cm) Giclee print.
If you're unfamiliar with Carole Lombard, here she is screwing up and reacting like a true screwball . . .
My Man Godfrey, if you haven't seen it - treat yourself: https://youtu.be/3adHdfNzJII
This was one of the first female icon portraits I completed. There are two things I wanted to do, firstly to celebrate women that aren't remembered/celebrated as much as they should be, particularly in response to the lazy, hackneyed use of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. They now have the equivalent omnipresence of Mickey Mouse or Banksy's Balloon Girl as shallow artistic/cultural signifiers of cool. It also had to do with all them mutable memories and the pleasurable impact of women like Carole, Lucy etc. had on the malforming mind of young GOMACG. Now that takes me right back to saturday afternoons, a mug of coffee, a whole packet of biscuits (bourbon creams, nothing but the best) and a Bette Davis double bill. No! i'm not going out to play! Happy days!
Secondly I wanted to create simplified large scale portrait stencils around which the rest, whatever that may be, would unfold. It wasn't easy to pick a single image but this close-up shot had the unintentional bonus of her giving a sly V-sign before it existed in common usage. Still not popular in America even though two are better than one. I'm nothing if not puerile (see London - A Fuckin' Mystery Circus & Devil's Brew, also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign I kid you not, UpYours Delors! )
As with some of the others I cut out the head shape on heavy lining paper and pasted it onto the canvas laurel and hardyesque, to get a smooth flat surface. The stencil was a large one-off coloured underneath in advance. The Sure Shot logo waving through her hair down to Mikey Dread comes from an old ska label and there is a Jackie Mittoo tune of the same name and it kind of resonated - screwball - sure shot - Yep, it's really that simple - (surprisingly no 8Ball made it on there) and of course, she is an absolute angel (lettering off a Camino Del Angel wine label - nothing but a serendipitous magpie, picking up what's lying around - empty bottles in this case). For The screwball font - QUICKSILVER - nerds, came from my well thumbed resource, The Letraset Catalogue 1978 ringbound, 261 pages, 50p at the till, no less, was a single stencil as well, 5 base colours under and 5 colours stencilled through. Interesting, no? I don't know why I'm trying to make this sound extremely precise and difficult work. I guess because the opposite is true, and it's all such damn good fun - when it goes right. Finally, the sketchbook hairy gonzo character book-ends pointy Mikey Dread 2-1 winner, and that is as serious as I get, so XXXX YOU! very much.
That's above the W. For XXXX sake. Open your eyes . . .
No.1 in 1940 - something I imagine she would have listened and danced to with her husband Clark Gable.