I looked at some great pieces online promoting the upcoming Glorious Excess show recently. Thanks to all the awesome folks who have given the show a shout out (like http://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/linkin-parks-mike-shinoda-at-japanese-american-national-museum-glorious-excess-dies and http://hypebeast.com/2009/07/mike-shinoda-glorious-excess-dies-exhibition-los-angeles/).
As you could guess, there were a couple people (read: cynical internet crybabies) who have commented, trying to call me out for “Damien Hirst” appropriation (Note: these are usually the same people who call Takashi Murakami “the guy who did the Kanye West cover”). Normally, I’d let this kind of dumbfuckery slide, but I figured I’d address it, since maybe they just didn’t know better.
The skull imagery–besides being an obvious sex/drugs/rock n’ roll reference–was a tip of the hat to the vanitas movement in 15th/16th century Europe. Hirst aside, it would be an insane task to list the amount of vanitas themes in modern art, outsider/street art, tattoo art, and rock / punk art. Whether they know it or not, a great deal of the stuff references the same idea the vanitas painters were getting at: the transience of life and inevitability of death…the fact that, no matter how much stuff you accumulate, you can’t take it with you in the end. My pieces are my own, personal perspective on it–a perspective that is heavily influenced by the bizarre and unique life experience that I have had.