|Life drawing, red and white chalk|
I'm continually mystified by the copious amounts of drawings and paintings of celebrities done by beginner or amateur artists. I realize they don't know any better, but still. I've already mouthed off about how I feel about copying photographs:
("Get Real" - http://deborahdendlersculpture.blogspot.com/2016/04/get-real.html)
What's bothering me now is the celebrity thing. It seems as though people are obsessed with TV and movie stars, singers, talk show hosts, politicians, athletes.
Is it because there's no one else to venerate? It's true that we seem to be living in an age of unprecedented corruption. But are we? Is it possible that today we know more facts about exactly how corrupt our leaders are instead of just suspecting it? Court records, tax returns, press coverage, and fact checking make the lives of public officials much more transparent. While I'm not arguing that people in power today are especially admirable, I think human history has seen worse. But I also notice that little celebrity art is of politicians.
The subjects of most celebrity art are movie stars in popular roles in big blockbuster movies. The character portrayed is usually not a real person, and sometimes it's not even a person (i.e., vampire, superhero, zombie, etc.) So the subject isn't real. It's all about fantasy. Ironically though, these artworks are fastidiously rendered in hyper realism, making real what is unreal. This feels to me like the old territory of religion. In an age of belief, the miracles of saints explained the inexplicable; the lives of martyrs demonstrated the inhuman. Fear and ignorance latch on to whatever they can find. I get that people need to believe in something. I just hope that the religious icons of the 21st century are not drawings and paintings copied from photos of Elvis Presley.