I’m definitely digging back way too far with this one, but it is pretty rare that I have a piece/body of work that I did half my lifetime ago that I still enjoy sharing with people and laughing about. Back in my senior year of high school, I was in the AP Art class and we had to create a 16-20 piece body of work on a theme of our choice for our portfolio review at the end of the year. As I was just starting to learn about a variety of artistic movements that took place in the last century or so, I decided it would be fun to paint images that were homages to some of the artists I had learned about, and in some cases admired. But with a touch of absurdity, of course.
While working on a piece that was an exercise on using contrasting colors of the color wheel, I decided to paint a pear stuck in a padded room (yellow/purple color scheme). I enjoyed the mental image of a piece of fruit being psychotic, and so there developed the subject of the rest of the paintings in the series: Psycho Fruit. With the exception of 2 pieces, the psycho pear included, the rest of the series’ paintings do in some way mimic an artist’s style or play off a specific painting by an artist.
I made this awful website ages ago to house this collection, which does get the job done so I haven’t felt much compulsion to make it better since (though one of these days I will have to rephotograph them at a higher resolution). In my typical fashion, I also created and categorized the pieces neatly into 4 series of 4. Mind you, I’m no psychiatrist, so should not have been the one diagnosing these poor fruits, so apologies if any of the neurosis are mis-categorized.
Banana Throwing itself down the stairs. Modeled after Marcel Duchamp’s piece, Nude Descending a Staircase.
Cantaloup Cult Suicide. Inspired by the style of Wayne Thiebaud.
Suicidal Orange. Inspired by the style of Roy Lichtenstein.
Suicidal Grapes. Inspired by the style of Vincent Van Gogh.
If only I had broadened the project to include vegetables, then I would have certainly made the Van Gogh piece an *ear* of corn.
Obsessive Compulsive Watermelon. This piece also does not have a specific muse; another exercise in contrasting colors I think.
Anorexic Raisin. Inspired by the style of Georges Rouault.
Claustrophobic Kiwi. Inspired by the style of Jackson Pollack.
Arachnophobic Peach. Inspired by the style of Georges-Pierre Seurat. I think I was getting lazy about it on this piece. He was much better at pointilism.
Yeah, I don’t think that OCD is technically a paranoia, but I guess I can see why I wanted it to fit nicely into my organizational system.
Pineapple in Vertigo. Inspired by the style of Peter Max.
“Psychotic Apple.” Inspired by the style of Francis Bacon.
“Psycho Pear.” The one that started the whole series (not an homage to an artist)
Lemon with Amnesia. Inspired by the style of Rene Magritte.
Ok, Peter Max was an odd outlier amongst the artist I chose to emulate. But really, can you imagine a better muse than a psychedelic artist for a series about psychosis?
Fruit with Identity Crisis. Inspired by the style of George Braque.
Apple with Multiple Personalities. Inspired by the style of Andy Warhol.
Banana Split Personality. Inspired by the style of Salvador Dali. Be grateful I didn’t choose to pun more with this series.
Schizophrenic Strawberry. Inspired by the painting by Edward Hopper.
So that’s the truth of it all. I admit easily that I could do it all much better now (I mean, I’m technically a better painter now), but even with their flaws, I have never really gotten sick of these pieces. It’s probably a sickness of its own, but I really just enjoy how ridiculous they are. I can only imagine what the judges thought when they saw these come across their desks. Clearly they enjoyed them too, as they committed me. To art school…