Monday, March 16, 2009

"American Standard"

After considerable effort with the scanner and photoshop, I got this to a somewhat acceptable point vis-a-vis how closely it matches the painting itself. Although it's not usually a problem when working with darker, more vivid images, the scanner doesn't like the rough texture of the paper when there's little pigment. I kept getting tiny shadows on the paper - like the shadows of minuscule moon craters.

I realize this may not be the most picturesque subject. Nevertheless, it falls nicely into my "ordinary objects" theme and reflects a fascination with industrial design, whether we're observing toasters or urinals. And admit it: It is a rather iconic fixture in the design landscape. Scan search results from google or flickr and you'll be amazed at the number of urinal photos - and the myriad designs pictured - from all over the world.

Here I really wanted to present the urinal in an appealing fashion - clean, polished, standing like a trophy or an idol on an altar. No doubt one could derive numerous conclusions from a painting of a urinal, from the Freudian to the political. The title alone - "American Standard" - says a great deal, I think, beyond standing as a specific brand moniker. In the end, enjoying art is about drawing one's own conclusions, fitting an image into a personal paradigm of experiences and opinions.

(The boys were intrigued by this one as I worked on it last week and over the weekend. They raised their eyebrows and even giggled. That's no surprise since "bathroom humor" is a focal point for schoolboy humor. My wife actually liked it from the start. I teased the boys that I was going to scan it and have it printed on t-shirts for each of them. At first they reacted with, "You're kidding," but eventually concluded that a t-shirt with a urinal on the front might be sufficiently weird to be cool. Hmmmmm, it may happen.) 5" x 7", watercolor, pen & ink, Fabriano 140 lb. paper.

Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

David Kilmer said...

I love this peice. I am starting a industrial/rock group and the name of the group is to be "American Standard" ( the idea came to me while pissing into a toilet made by the company ). I originally wanted the first album cover to be a toilet like the one i saw, but your artistic recreation of this urnial is superb.
I would appreciate it if you would consider allowing me to use a larger version of your work for my album cover with all credit due to you and a link to your site where ever i post the album.
We are working on a demo, in case your curious the type/sound of the music. It is mainstream/modern-rock type genre with heavy implications of a controlled society (a topic most loved by teens of this and past generations ).
Anyways - let me know.
David Kilmer