If I am in the studio painting, I’m watching movies — all day long. One of my all-time favorites is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas… as it happens, so I decided to capture both Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson as one. Both of these creative gents have brought me a great deal of enjoyment, so I figured why not ride this strange torpedo out to the end?
The voice over is a bit much, no?
This was my source image. It is a digitally altered still from the movie which was photographed on my TV. After the jump, it gets serious.
Started out by nailing down the negative space in pure cadmium orange, a color best used by Francis Bacon.
In a new approach, I collaged partial portions of the canvas… creating dedicated shapes and a minor level of relief. I also channeled the days of sketchbook yore but slapping pre-existing images directly onto the canvas.
If you’ve seen Fear and Loathing, there are TV scenes featuring a scrambled TV and Richard Nixon saying, “Sacrifices” over and over again — this inspired the eyes. Eyes?
Positive and negative text (visually) creating each half of his face. The nuke cloud is not an anti-smoking campaign, as both Hunter and Johnny indulge(d) — and everyone should do what they want. As long as it isn’t killing someone. Or watching Friends.
Working into the floppy cap.
Cadmium orange straight from the tube, breaking up half the face.
Getting in there with varying tones on the cap, and popping in some popping (drug inspired) eyes. In an effort to keep the canvas raw, and experiential, I decided not to paint gradients on the letters in the face.
Oh yes, starting to make more sense when the other half (of the face) comes out to play.
Painting in the eyes, leaving Nixon to sit awkwardly on the rims of the glasses of a man playing a man who hated his guts.
Some mild gradients in the negative space within the facial structure. This canvas wasn’t about precision… it was about abandoning the rules I find myself setting without reason.
Busted out the smoking device with four pre-mixed colors.
And here he is, Hunter S. Depp in all his abstract, collaged splendor. Speaking of layers…
Hunter S. Thompson, played by Johnny Depp, as seen through the eyes of Terry Gilliam, frozen and photographed on my tv, edited on my computer, printed and hand-eye translated to canvas. I was somewhere in my studio, on the edge of the Upper East Side, when the drugs, began to take hold.
For kicks. An encore?