Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not an Addict


Back in July 2007, TIME Magazine did a cover story on addiction -- the science behind it, hereditary factors, natural tendencies, social influences, and just why people may or may not be prone to addiction. As an exercise, I did an illustration depicting this concept.

At the time, The Soprano's had recently ended it's run, and people were up in arms debating the genius or the outrageous letdown of the final scene. David Chase has voiced his thoughts on what may or may not be behind the lead-up to the cut to black. He said there was no symbolism, but I prefer to think, rightly or wrongly, that there was. In my opinion, "Last Supper" symbolism-meets-2007-Sopranos, in the cafe, meticulously planned and executed...is brilliance!

Anyway, that debate had me thinking about the power of symbolism in art. Something I'm interested in exploring is saying as much as possible with as little as possible. Drawing on people's knowledge and experiences by using symbolism can be an effective tool to do this. The question then becomes: what constitutes a symbol? Does it have to be iconic, like a Freudian cigar, or can it be obscure, like a Rold Gold pretzel stick representing a Freudian cigar?

Here, there is the monkey on the back reference coupled with a lost shaker of salt. I had it on good authority that this reference from "Margaritaville" referred to cocaine. Even if it doesn't, it probably does...to someone.

So, what are you addicted to? Internet social networking, perhaps...blogging, maybe? Who knew "blogging" would become a verb?

In 1996, before "blogging" was a verb, K's Choice, many would argue a one-hit-wonder from the "alternative" genre of 90s rock, recorded an album called Paradise in Me. "Not an Addict" was the first single off this disk. I thought it a symbolic appropriation for this entry's title.

Here's an acoustic version from a solo Sarah Bettens (lead singer).



One of many huge losses to addiction.

4 comments:

Flydesign said...

Interesting point of view on symbolism, this is a strong subject for any artist on what he or she wants to portray in art, perhaps to define ones style. Another fantastic piece Alan and thank you for your comment and support. Go figure, two artist inspired from each others work.

Flydesign said...

Alan I had a question for you, joining a society such as "Los Angeles Society of Illustrators," how has that benefited you in your art career? Currently I’m a post production editor for an entertainment marketing agency and in the past year they have used my illustration skills for major brand clients. This has branched off into small jobs on the side and this year it’s becoming like a second job, which is nice because I’m enjoying myself. So I’m looking at this a little more serious now. Any advice is appreciated.

Flydesign said...

Thanks Alan for your advice. I think it might be a trial and error type of situation on which organization may fit my needs. I’m always looking out for good resources and I think it helps to be part of the illustration community in some way for networking purposes. I think as I grow as an artist it will finally be a main part of my daily work flow and perhaps one day is my main source of income.

I think I’ll have a new piece up on the blog in a couple of days. The new piece is of Clint Eastwood (B/W), of course done in Photoshop CS.

Cheers,
Flydesign

Flydesign said...

Thanks Allan for stopping by my blog. Clint Eastwood just was a good picture from start to finish and I just really had fun with it. Right now I’m doing some simple cartoon characters for a major brand client and have been a little disappointed through the project, so Mr. Eastwood was a perfect outlet for my creativity, basically to see and do what I want.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re going to post next. This is like waiting for your favorite magazine to come out each month.

Matt