1984 and the nature of bad ideas

At some point I decided to make a painting about George Orwell’s 1984. I thought collage might be the way to go; I’d purchased an old Cole’s Notes study guide for the book, and something in me wanted to draw all over the pages. Then I’d take the book apart and use the out-of-sync double-page spreads as a kind of foundation to paint on. At the very least I’d get loads of interesting texture.

It didn’t work. It didn’t work because it was a bad idea. It was a bad idea because it was never anything more sophisticated than what a high school art student might dream up (uhhh … this next painting is based on Eddie from the Iron Maiden albums …).

This occasionally happens and it’s perfectly okay – as long as you can see the wreckage for what it is. You have ideas, you pursue them, and sometimes you run them off a cliff (whereupon they burst into flames in mid-air).

What I should have done was stop at the ingredients. The ingredients were fine – the abandon involved in drawing over pages from a vintage study guide for 1984 was fun, especially with the insidiousness of black ink. I like the drawings. Quite a bit.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to scan everything along the way. The drawings can be found here – where they work great as posters and coffee cups and iPad cases.

As for the painting… I let it hang there for a few weeks, watching me, until I primed over it.


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