Words and Abstraction

I’ve been doing an ongoing series of abstract paintings of a word or phrase that has permeated American culture for the last several generations (if not longer) and how that word or phrase has changed over the years because of cultural shifts due to technology, civil rights, the abundant access to information etc.

In this study of shifting language and concepts, the paintings are also autobiographical. I was never a good student, and the literal repetition of painting each word reflects the educational form of punishment of staying after school to write a phrase on a caulk board, which is as outdated as the words/phrases that I am exploring.

Additionally, The layers and colors of each painting are as varied as the general attitude or opinions have been over time. For example, “Made in China” was once understood to mean “poor quality” or even "anti-American" in terms of economics and manufacturing. Now, as industries have shifted to be more global and China has seen a major upswing in economic power and industrial infrastructure the overall attitude of Chinese manufacturing has been largely accepted, and perhaps even celebrated by young companies who can take advantage of the low start-up costs and ease of making a product overseas, while it still remains to some the sign of the downfall of American manufacturing, which has only been heightened by the recent trade tariffs battle.

One at a Time. Acrylic on Canvas. 36x48

401K. Acrylic on Canvas. 36x48

Slow and Steady. Acrylic on Canvas. 24x36

Made in China. Acrylic on Canvas. 24x36

Santa Claus is dead.

I heard a Story on NPR this morning about a substitute teacher in New Jersey who told a first grade class that Santa isn’t real, which led the class to discussing how the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Elf on a Shelf ect also aren’t real. That teacher was fired.

I agree that it isn’t the place of a substitute teacher to break that kind of news to a group of 6-7 year old kids. But I kind of agree with the intentions. And I think the perpetuation of Santa is only going to contribute to mass consumer waste, and therefore more climate change issues and pollution.

Why as a culture do we lie about Santa? What is our responsibility to the planet, and what is the responsibility of today’s product designers and brands selling any type of physical goods?

Story here