June 13, 2011
Creator or Copycat of a Copycat
Got a call from ESPN the magazine, not to spoof Roy Lichenstein of course, but to illustrate the Seattle Mariners rebuilding their baseball team and possibly trading their star players Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki. The editors suggested a garage sale scene or the player's sitting on a pile of dynamite, which I explored.
But after doodling the Mariner's logo over and over, I saw that I could turn it into an explosion, to go with the expression "blow up the team".
And the explosion I was drawing kept reminding me of my favorite Roy Lichenstein painting "Explosion" 1965.
Of course I could have easily drawn my own explosion, but I thought how fun would it be to spoof the Lichenstein, and maybe, just maybe, some readers would enjoy the spoof as well.
I knew the art directors would, and Oliver Yoo who art directed this, went for it, thanks Oliver!
I love spoofing famous artworks, just for the fact alone to closely study their compositions.
Of course I didn't want to hide this fact, so I wrote "Apologies to Lichenstein" along the bottom of my illustration, like Bob Staake wrote "After Escher" on his brilliant New Yorker Cover last July.
Later while researching the painting, I stumbled across this website "Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein" put together by art historian, David Barsalou who has spent 25 years (looking through 30,000 comic books!) to find examples like these:
Which made me realize that I should have actually written "Apologies to some unknown '60s comic artist, because unfortunately, the original source of "Explosion" I spoofed wasn't on his site. Perhaps Mr. Barsalou needs to look through a few more comic books ; )
Of course everybody knows Lichenstein was inspired by the comics but I had never realized how directly he drew from them, including the text. I figured he had and but never really thought too much about it, because I got what he going for. But after seeing these maybe he should've have written "Apologies to Tony Abruzzo, John Romita, Jim Pike etc etc." under his paintings....
Here's "my" piece in print. My little acknowledgement at the bottom ended up being removed by the magazine, as unnecessary or distracting, which is probably correct....but it was necessary for me! It made me feel better.
And the Boston Globe article of which I spoofed their headline: