An upcoming impromptu trip to New York City served as a flimsy suggestion of a deadline. It worked! ‘Earth’s Mightiest Zeroes’ is now my latest finished oil painting.
I started working on some of the small things I needed to update, change and fix on my website. This included a new bio and a new artist statement, the latter of which is still slightly unfinished as I write this. It dawned on me that no other creative profession has to write an ‘artist statement’ except visual artists. Not even writers, who, you know, write. Talking about music is like dancing about architecture, etc, and not only is writing a mission statement for my paintings a miserable experience, the artist is also the single worst person to be writing about their own art.
Earth’s Mightiest Zeroes
Meanwhile, back in studio I spent a good, hard week pretending I was 28 again. My sleep patterns evaporated, ending a couple nights between 4 and 5 am. Eating became wildly erratic and merely a suggestion. The biggest fight I had in my studio was with the dry times for oil paints.
I wanted to make a few postcards for my trip, and wanted to include the painting I started about Uvalde in the mini set. With a fairly good idea firmly in place, the work just needed some polishing. The police ‘responders’ are posed as action figure super heroes, based off poses common to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The painting is inspired by the video of inactivity of our ‘heroes’ loafing around with bootleg Punisher logos, checking their phones and using hand sanitizer for over an hour while a classroom of kids were turned into tomato puree by a deranged piece of shit with an automatic rifle.
In a novel move, I made a few stencils for the painting. ‘RAT-TAT-TAT’ for the continuous gunfire as well as a couple arrays of Ben Day dots to reinforce the comic book image. I’m glad I could use the popular vernacular of comic book superheroes in the painting. So much violence is desensitized in most media and consequences rarely come to those in most dire need of their effects.
I applied a lot of thick paint throughout with a weird confidence throughout the week. All told, you can see the progress from where it was last month to its finished state. I kept a loose gutter around the image to again reference the pulp origins. ‘Earth’s Mightiest Zeroes’ is the title that I ultimately decided on. Inactive Shooters Blue Lives Matter More, and Preening Posing Punishers also ran through my head.
With that painting done, it’s been an inspirational and aspirational guide for my next paintings. I hope to finish my ‘Greatest Hits of 2020-2022’ series soon. With the new idea of using stencils and wildly thick paint layers, I’m feeling confident this wave of progress can continue.
Tom Vek’s ‘Nothing But Green Lights’ finishes this post strong: