Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by Germain Lussier
In a traditional sense, art is all about being displayed at a gallery. The art we feature here on /Film, however, is far from traditional. It’s bold, bright and usually pop culture themed. That kind of stuff has no place in a gallery. Or does it? Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles regularly hosts pop culture themed art shows and occasionally gives some of those artists their own show. Spoke Art in San Francisco, CA has followed suit with several pop culture themed shows of their own and, later this week, will showcase one the movements most prolific artists.
Tim Doyle‘s first solo show, Unreal Estate, opens Thursday February 2 at Spoke Art in San Francisco. It features art depicting locations from famous television shows such as The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Sesame Street, King of the Hill, Arrested Development and more. It’ll be on display through February 23 and will go on sale online February 3.
After the jump, look at a bunch of exclusive images from the show along with Doyle’s personal descriptions of the process behind them.
Here are some images, both exclusive and not, from Tim Doyle’s Unreal Estate. The final four are the original pen and ink drawings, also available at the show. After the gallery, we’ve included some descriptions of the pieces from Doyle.
Here’s Doyle’s write up on the Kwik E Mart piece called Night over the SNPP, a 16 x 20 print in a signed and numbered edition of 100.
The first three prints I created for the show were all inspired by The Simpsons- I knew I had to kick them out of my head up front and move on, as The Simpsons could very easily dominate the entire exhibit if I let it. I purposefully set these three images at night or sunset to force the color scheme away from the pastel and neon palette of the show.
I remember my Dallas-suburb Middle School placing a ban on Simpsons t-shirts in the late 80′s, as the show was considered a bad influence, and Bart an animated public-enemy #1. Now, the show is an American monument- a purple and green and yellow Mt. Rushmore in time and celluloid. The Simpsons is probably one of our most enduring exports- it’d be hard to go to a country on the globe where the characters aren’t recognized. Even in 1992 my young mind knew how out of touch the then-campaigning George Bush Sr. was when he said that Americans “…needed to be closer to the Waltons than the Simpsons.” He lost that election to the more media savvy Bill Clinton- pop culture affecting Presidential politics. Mr. Plow predating Joe the Plumber.
Here’s Tim’s write up on the Sesame Street posters, called Sweeping the Clouds and Nest of Doors, each are 18 x 24 prints in a signed and numbered edition of 100.
Growing up in the suburbs, my first exposure to what a ‘real’ city was like was Sesame Street. And when I say ‘real’ city, I mean apartment buildings, corner bodegas, and a positive multiculturalism that wasn’t reflected in my suburban surroundings. When I finally did visit NYC for the first time in early 2001, I was half expecting to see a two-headed spelling monster pop his head around a corner or encounter a frog reporter. I remember calling my brother and excitedly telling him I saw kids playing in the spray from a fire hydrant JUST LIKE ON TV! I did see some people living in garbage heaps, but that wasn’t nearly as fun as it should be. To this day, the original theme song of Sesame Street gets me misty-eyed. This particular street corner is a cultural icon in an of itself. It’s where everyone I grew up with learned to read, to count, and more importantly to share and be kind. This plywood set populated by people, foam or otherwise is IMPORTANT. It presented a racially diverse cast in a way that had never been seen in children’s programming at the time. When it debuted, a Mississippi state commission voted to ban the program because of it. Sesame Street, like All in the Family was an agent for social change. It’s easy to forget in the intervening years, but while Archie Bunker might have been an avatar for the white, lower to middle class audience it targeted, having him bump into a 1970′s modern woman like Bea Arthur’s Maude or Sammy Davis Jr.’s black/ jewish reality was slowly educating the audience that ‘hey, these people- they’re just people too.’ And the fact that the Grouchketeers had kids from all backgrounds was a very specific and groundbreaking choice. Progressiveness through Puppetry.
The fun thing for me in doing these prints is all the research that it involves. I ‘had to’ watch a lot of Sesame Street, followed by a viewing of Follow That Bird (seriously a fun, great movie). I wanted to depict the street and ‘Arbor’ (as the area in the middle is known) as I remembered it from the late 70′s through the mid-80′s. Thumbing through countless photos and video clips brought back memories I didn’t know were still there. Now if I could just get my two year old to watch anything but Yo Gabba Gabba, I’d gladly forge new memories of this fictional and eternal corner that he’ll carry through to his children.
Finally, here’s the write up on the Arrested Development pieces which are called 10 Cents Gets You Nuts, and 18 x 24 print and Banana Flambe, the 12 x 24 variant, both signed and numbered editions of 100.
Next up, I went a little bit more contemporary with the Bluth Banana stand. This show wormed it’s way into me post-cancellation, I’m embarrassed to say. But I’d guess that’s the case with the vast majority of AD’s fans today. As I was working on this print, the news broke that Arrested Development was in fact coming BACK to television, albeit through the subscription service Netflix, and later into theaters in a long-rumored film. This is fantastic news- and what I believe is a first for network TV- the internet spoke as a collective and WILLED this show back into production. This isn’t the case of some stiff in a suit saying “You know what was popular? 90210. Let’s do that again, even though no-one ever asked for it.” The only reason Dallas is back on the air is because people recognize it as a BRAND, not as a show anyone was dying for more of. But this is something…else. We weren’t done with the Bluths, and we demanded a family reunion. And we’re getting it. Now, who wants to start a Kickstarter to get Firefly back? The internet has spoken.
Normally for a variant, you go for a simple color swap with your screens, or add an effect layer, like glow in the dark, or print on a different surface like wood or metal. But with this one, I completely redrew the Banana stand and produced a whole new set of separations to get the “fire” version produced. Twice the work, but totally worth the effort for a subject I love. I could have gone with the model home, but I thought the stand proved itself more iconic for the insanity of this series.
Unreal Estate is open from February 2-23 at the Spoke Art Gallery, 816 Sutter Street, San Francisco CA. The opening reception is 6-10 p.m. Thursday and there will be a limited edition piece only available to those in attendance. Visit spoke-art.com for more information