December 13, 2015
'NIGHTLIFE' MY ARTISTIC TRIBUTE TO THE VIDEO STORE
This year marks the seventh time I've happily been a part of Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult. It's the art show that started a well-worn trend, and is said to have "launched a thousand shows" just like it.
This time, rather than celebrating a particular film, I focused on the now romanticized video store. It's a look back to a time when home viewing stakes were higher considering pitfalls like uninformed movie selections, potentially damaged tapes, late fees, and the investment of time and gas money. But those things were outweighed by the social interactions, the free popcorn, the looping previews, and the ritual that could turn a Friday night into an event. All the legwork and logistics gave weight and value to the movies, even the awful ones. Although one can't truly understand their value until you've had to spend eighty bucks to replace a tape that melted in your car window.
The piece is also a tribute to one of my favorite artists, Edward Hopper. He often used American storefronts as a stage for lonely, isolated individuals. In this case, loneliness emerges in the wait for your long-overdue ride. So long that the option to go back inside vanished when the door was locked and the lights went dark. In a broader sense, we're all locked out of the video store.
(Sheesh, of all the things to get poignant about, I pick movie rental.)
Process wise, I assembled a photomontage first and then painted digitally on top of it. I'd say I was 'cheating' if it hadn't taken so many dozens of hours to complete.
This evening, as I was in the middle of writing this entry, I was reminded of the downside of physical media by making a dark, rainy, thirty-plus minute round trip to use a stupid Redbox promo code on the only copy of Ant-Man in a sixty mile radius. I got to the kiosk to discover that the touch screen was out of commission. I returned to my family empty handed, and spent another twenty minutes on customer chat to null the transaction. ("Krista" the service rep promptly disconnected once I started in on my sob story.) And here I am commemorating the dying industry that I helped kill off in favor of a disc dropping robot that chose to ignore me tonight.
Anyway, if my hypocrisy doesn't disgust you, and you want one, then signed and numbered prints are available for $20 through Gallery 1988's site.
(Also, here it is as 1900x1200 desktop wallpaper.)