September 04, 2010


(click to enlarge)

I just tricked you into looking at my latest colored pencil creation. It's for an art show called Private Investigation which starts on September 15th at the Mastodon Mesa gallery in Los Angeles. The concept required artists to "choose a found photograph of unknown provenance, and use it as a jumping off point to make a piece of art."

Here it is hanging in the gallery

My submission (called Soft Focus Phantom in Pigtails) is based on a mysterious snapshot from the 1970s. I picked it because it initially grabbed my attention with the costume, but when I noticed that the ferocious subject is a little girl it became even more appealing. Also, I tend to have Halloween on the brain this time of year and I happen to own a mask similar to the one in the photo (though the blur and the glare from the flash distort it nicely in the found snapshot.)

Including the original photo alongside the art was optional. I wrestled with the decision until I concluded that my take on it just can't measure up to awesomeness of the authentic article.

At first I had grand plans to do a more creative interpretation of the image, but I quickly fell in love with it and couldn't bring myself to deviate too much. Though somehow I subconsciously became a human PhotoShop, deepening the colors and trying to sharpen the focus some.

The project was especially enticing because it's a step away from my film family portraits, and it's my foray outside the walls of the beloved Gallery 1988. For this I can thank curator Graham Kolbeins, who also wrote a nice write-up on my portraits on the official site for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are movie.

For more info on the show and the other artists check out Mastodon Mesa's site.


Anonymous said...

I was always a big fan of the "Mask plus costume with same image on torso equals Halloween Excellence" approach. I had a Snoopy costume in this vein, & my middle brother had E.T.

(And, as always - great work!)

Brandon said...

Really LOVE this one, Kirk! A lot going on in the piece, very atmospheric-I want to know this kid's story! Great work, man, great work.

Jody B. said...

Great work!! Everytime I visit the Secret Fun Blog, my mind is awakened to some memory the sands of time had tried to bury. Old Halloween costumes really bring out good feelings about my childhood. Anyway...rambling now...great portrait!!

Huck said...

Yes, I agree. This one did trick me. I really thought it was a photo so you did it justice and I don't need to see the original. This may be my favorite piece so far.

Dano said...

Stunning work, Kirk! I thought it was a photo too! I love doing art pieces based on random photos - the various Tumblr sites are an incredible source for random and bizarre photos.

Anonymous said...

Such a fun exhibition!