It’s been quite some time since I last completed some personal work of my own, due to an overload of commissions for 2013. So as a bit of a change from my normal posts I thought I would pop up my latest self initiated image, along with the inspiration behind the idea. At the top of the post you can see a small selection of excellent pieces that helped inform my artwork. Once you have looked at all of the examples you can start to see a bit of a pattern emerging, not in the medium that they were created, but in the focus of the models themselves. “What are they looking at” I hear you ask, well a better tomorrow of course! I suppose the point was that it’s something to aspire to, “this forward thinking, upward looking group of people that look like me, I can do this too”. I can’t help thinking there is something a bit ‘Disney’ about them, they all look real yet at the same time completely unrealistic. Maybe it’s my typically British out look, but somehow I cant help but feel really uneasy and pessimistic about them. However, ever since going to china I have been fascinated by the culture and have always wanted to create artwork about it.
I think my image could be viewed in two ways. The first is from the point of view of the people who created the original Chinese posters. You can see the comparatively ugly, western views and ideologies seeping their way into the Chinese poster style hero. The suspiciously Ai Weiwei looking character appears to be up to no good promoting chaos, disorder and darkness onto the chinese people.
In contrast the image could be looked at in a softer way, seeing this influential figure (Ai Weiwei) taking part in a western game called Chinese Whispers. No irony is lost as you can plainly see that both people are in fact of chinese origin. From his shadowy position in the image you can see that all is not well, he is almost hiding behind the radiant girl in red, who we can only assume signifies china itself. So it starts to become clear, from everything we know of Ai Weiwei with his political views of human rights in china, this is about him and others slowly breaking down the barriers of old china that we see in the posters, by pushing freedom of speech. I suppose you could see the image is a reflection of how I see China changing, with the use of modern technology free speech will inevitably creep it’s way in.
Whichever way you look at the image it evokes a certain amount of mystery and although only loosely based on the Chinese Propaganda posters, it successfully hits on the subject I was aiming for.