ArtyFakts: Red Plush Iconography


This post calls for some commentary, though generally I like to present the images and let you, dear readers, come to your own conclusions. In this case I feel the need to blather.

I like kitsch because it is so unashamedly bad, designed purely as a sentimental honey trap in which the hapless fly viewer is drowned in overpowering sweetness and light. Religious iconography is quintessentially kitsch, with a dark subtext that aims to seduce its audience into a lifetime of cozy devotion, free from any distracting questions.

These images were superimposed on a background of red plush. The melding simultaneously kicks up the kitsch factor to 11 and subverts them by suggesting the darker overtones inherent in their appeal.

A word about the images. The Abrahamic Plush Big 3.5 was an obvious choice. Plush Buddha is actually good art, but clearly an icon in every other respect. Plush Hubbard, Deepak Chopra, Pat Robertson, and Daisaku Ikeda are all Evangelists, and Plush Crowley is an Old School iconoclast.

Plush Dawkins is somewhat different. Not posed, it’s obviously a crop of Dawkins speaking at a public event. But the crop itself is an artistic choice, the look evoking open-minded intelligence. In that sense it’s an icon. Consider it a provocation, though I think the idea that atheism is a religion is nonsense.

I’ve blathered enough. Don’t want to over-explain. Please give me some feedback, either on this post, or the subject of adding commentary to forthcoming images. Thanks.

10 thoughts on “ArtyFakts: Red Plush Iconography

  1. Of course I used the very finest liberal red plush. Red is for commies and blue for plutocrats in the UK. Is plush the same as velvet? Anyway, what do you think about adding commentary or not? So far you are my vox pop.

  2. Catherine is probably the expert. For me, I guess I like both the ones you simply present and the commentary. I always like to hear what the artist thinks/feels/was attempting. Your comments today got me thinking; in a way, I enjoyed the commentary as much as the art. Of course, I’m biased; I always like your writing.

  3. Sorry, I’ve been having trouble posting WordPress responses all day – don’t know why. They’ve vanished into the ether. I’ve enjoyed the quirky ArtyFakts posts and I appreciate kitsch. But not that much. I think Photoshop and its ilk are much abused, even by professional designers, and there’s just so much doodling you can take before it all blends together in a big mess. You did ask for comments 🙂 And anyway, why mess with kitsch? Shouldn’t it be seen as it is? Keep it simple, I say. But I always read all your stuff so don’t take it to heart!

    • Think of me as an infant playing with poster paints…Kitsch has the appeal of the bad, as you might expect from someone with William McGonagall as his muse. I agree that Photoshop, or the rather less sophisticated software I’m using, encourages a “because I can” attitude, but I think that’s helpful when you’re experimenting to see what does and doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s better not to know what’s good or bad, because then you can happily make sometimes happy mistakes. The latest artyfakt is fairly simple.

      I’d love to see your own work.

      • Don’t stop experimenting! Of course it’s important for any artist to do so. Some experiments work, some don’t. I really enjoy seeing your work. Yesterday was not a good day 🙂 My own work? Mercy, no. My background is in advertising! Although I may post some local township signs one day.

  4. Kitsch lovers unite! You have nothing to fear but . . . . Well, now that I think about it, perhaps there’s much to fear, after all.

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