I had a lot of fun on this project, and may just keep this one for myself. The idea was documented in my previous blog, but at that point, I didn’t realize the amount of mystique that surrounds this historic photo. Perhaps I shouldn’t say anything, but I just can’t keep a secret; hidden in this painting, are seven Beatle figures in action, a shadow portrait of Paul, and the Blue Meanies hand from Yellow Submarine. I’m sure you will notice now that I’ve brought them to your attention. The clues in this picture should get you started, but be aware some shapes are inverted or rotated.
I got this idea from a posting on Facebook by Toronto artist, David Clarkson. He uploaded his own version of the famous photo, notably missing all signs of life, including the Fab Four. His doctored photo instantly resonated with me, and I couldn’t get the image out of my head. This has to be the most iconic intersection in popular culture; at least for the past 50 years. Upon further discussion, I was send to a website displaying the outtakes for the original photo shoot. At this point, I was hooked.
While browsing through the other photos, I realized how familiar the badly parked white Volkswagen was. It seemed almost a part of my subconscious. I also noticed that Paul was actually wearing sandals, but took them off for the final barefoot shot. I just had to do something with this piece of information, so I added an abandoned sample of this footwear into my composition.
I don’t want to give away too much just yet, (hence the close-up in the graphic above), but all those darkly-shadowed trees cried out for some barely discernible shapes, suggestions…like maybe the Blue Meanies…but I won’t decide until I get to that part of the painting.
So, what am I trying to say here? I think my original fascination with a famous, but abandoned site, was the idea of time itself. Nothing stays the same. Although people still pose on this crossing every single day, the area is radically different. The world has moved on, and the Beatles are no more. I, myself, am some 45 years older.
And yet, there’s that car, in the exact same spot. It feels like it should always be there. But it’s not, and neither are George, Paul (shoes or no shoes), Ringo and John. For me, the passing of time can feel empty; memories fading. At what point in time, I wonder, will nobody know, much less care, about that bright, sunny summer afternoon, when the Abbey Road crossing was used to capture the imagination of so many people?
As mentioned in previous blogs, I am tackling the whole notion of technology, so-called “social media”, and what it all means to our daily lives. The pace of technological change in society is increasingly faster, as evidenced by fact that our personal computing devices need to be replaced every few years. That may not mean much to younger people, but let me put things into perspective:
For 50 years, telephones and TV sets were virtually the same. Sure, colour TV came around in the 1960’s, but the technicians merely piggy-backed red-green-blue on the NTSC signal from the original black and white, and used this make-shift technology until digital was implemented a few years ago. The telephone? Let’s just say you didn’t need to upgrade for a better camera. Even the concept of photography was virtually untouched until the new millennium, and the introduction of reasonably priced digital cameras.
But I digress. The point is this: we, as human beings, adapt to new situations, but with the speed of changes, we rarely take the time to step back and look at what we’re doing. Personally, I think that people walking around, staring at tiny screens, and ignoring the real-life sights and sounds around them, is fascinating. Without passing judgment, I feel that this phase in mankind’s development is worth looking at. It’s worth preserving, since this may be just a passing footnote in our history.
How will the future look? It’s hard to tell. Google glasses were a hint, but one thing’s for certain – the demand for instant communication and information is only going to increase. I don’t think it’s science fiction to suggest that memory chips, CPUs and some form of Wi-Fi will be implanted into our very own brains.
But for now, most of us are tied into this technology treadmill, and are too busy to worry about the future. As for the painting itself, I have hinted at the darker side of instant information, and that’s the notion of privacy. Was anyone disturbed by the blinds parted, revealing a thin wedge of nighttime darkness? Could somebody be looking in? I wonder if the girl on the treadmill cares – most likely, since it’s rather creepy…however, she is using technology that allows the whole world to watch from afar!
But for better or worse, I intend to examine this part of our daily lives. One of the artist’s responsibilities is to act like a mirror, and give us all a chance to examine our existence.
I find myself in the middle of a very strange project, and at times, wondering why I’m here. I keep wanting to follow my instinct of correcting and balancing the shapes before me, but I soon remind myself of the premise: to take an original child’s drawing, and make it as real as possible without significantly altering the content.
Although I have mixed feelings about this project, and it is nothing like my usual paintings, I have decided to give it my all. The Whole World is going to take at least another month, but as they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound!”
Most of my work is done from my own photo compositions. This playful experiment is another matter. I looked at some pictures of skies and clouds, but for the most part, I am making it up as I go. It’s a liberating feeling in some ways.
This is also a back to basics proposition for me. How will a particular shadow fall, given the lighting conditions? What, exactly, will be reflected on this metal surface? These are good mental exercises for any kind of artist. My art is based upon deconstructing, and then reconstructing the world around me. This painting can only expand my horizons, and as it stands, there are already four of them in the composition…