A few years back, I was strolling along Madison Avenue when I happened upon an “up-scale” thrift store. There, perched high upon the wall was Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol — a 25.5″X25.25″ reproduction shimmering in the low light. After no small amount of negotiations, $125 later I found myself with a fake Andy tucked under my arm, but six blocks from his old townhouse on Lex and 89th.
Over the past two years, as my painting career developed, this print migrated from front-and-center in the living room, to the bedroom, and finally to a stack of canvases in the corner. I always intended to do something with it… and then, the idea came.
This painting marks my first “Borbay Bomb”… and who better to Bomb than Marilyn… and Andy? If there is anyone who would understand my intent, it would be Marcel Duchamp. As for my clear bid to take something famous and make it my own? Andy would understand.
Pablo Picasso… Steve Jobs… they both get it. After the jump, my first Bomb painting.
My first order of business was to plaster a select portion of the canvas with New York Post mastheads. Since developing this collage style in January of 2010, I was waiting for the right opportunity to create a Masthead Collage…
Once dried, I began to re-draw Marilyn’s face on top… I wanted to have the feel of transparency through the text.
Starting with the shadows and the eyeliner… feeling good about the process right away. And, while I may be speculating, I am willing to bet I spent more time painting this canvas at this point than Warhol spent on any single Marilyn.
Starting to paint in the face. I intentionally used several tones for the face with a distinct differentiation from the print. I want people to know this was hand-painted, in stark contrast to the original and its process.
Here comes the yellow in the hair… I chose a Roy Lichtenstein yellow versus the softer yellow of the original. It’s about contrast and indicating difference, blatantly.
And here it is… Warhol’s Blue Marilyn Borbay Bombed, and ready to show at Clipped, a group exhibition coming this July.
Warhol’s original use of Marilyn’s image for this series was the subject of many court debates. The result? His paintings were considered “Transformative“, hence, he was not infringing. Is my version of the painting considered Transformative? Would others consider it derivative? Certainly on the latter, and I would argue yes, for the former. Warhol exhaustion is at an all-time high, with Soup Cans recently emerging in the Village, a new statue… still, several decades of excess has done little to stem the tide of Warhol remixes.
Then there is Fab Five Freddy, plastering subway cars with Soup Cans.
And, of course, David LaChapelle’s Amanda Lepore portrait… similar, no?
Colbert Warhol Soup Can graffiti, found in the Village by way of The Gothamist.
And, The Warholian… hosting “Warhol Reimagined”, an entire show of Warhol remixes.
So, what is stealing? What is legit? I am sure I can find a handful of people arguing for either side, particularly with my new piece. Ultimately, as with any other artist, I stand by my creation and look forward to seeing which collection acquires my Marilyn.