Home > Art History, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > “Sell Your Soul (To The Devil)” by Shellie Lewis

“Sell Your Soul (To The Devil)” by Shellie Lewis

June 2, 2010

“Sell Your Soul (To The Devil)”

Acrylic and gold interference acrylic on canvas, 24” x 36” by Shellie Lewis

This has earned the loving nickname of “Seventies Hell Warhol”. 🙂  The painting just sort of evolved this way.  I started out intending to overhaul my portfolio, and I basically said “Fuck it, I’m going Pop.”  Painterly realism and abstract experimentation haven’t gotten me anywhere career-wise or academically.  People recognize Pop Art and even if they can’t name any other artist, they can at least name and/or identify Warhol.  I ask people to name an artist and they all have said “Warhol” before they think to name, oh, DaVinci.

I am doing an intentionally hand painted style of early Pop, before silkscreens, mechanical processes and the removal of the hand of the artist.  So it is Pop that goes against mass-manufacturing, ready-mades to order or people hired to do creations under a “branded artist as conceptualist” commercial model ala Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons or Maurizio Cattelan.

Warhol worked both sides against the middle.  He was a rarity in his time, a guy from a blue collar, immigrant, working class background that clawed his way into the fine art world and to national fame; snippy criticism from Robert Hughes aside, Warhol made a fortune.  He needed the gallery system to get recognition for his work and launch his career as an artist; yet a majority of his career was spent tearing down the boundaries between fine art as high “culture” and mass or popular culture.  Anyone want a nice soup can painting?

There is more fluidity now, but I feel that there is still an entrenched “fine art industry” that isn’t probably going to budge in my lifetime and has to be dealt with through schools, colleges, galleries and museums.  Unless you want to run with the low-brow scene, cater to a specific subculture, carry out street level art or entrench into Outsider art status, these arbiters of culture have the power to block or assent to higher education for artists and authenticate work as valuable or not.  The people that feed financial support to artists want the authentication of these systems, generally speaking, and in the hope of the works purchased increasing in value after acquisition.  It’s been my experience that are buyers of art are a narrow band of upper class or wealthy people and the average middle-class or lower rung person doesn’t give two damns about acquiring “art” beyond what can be slapped on a t-shirt.  (I’m willing to debate this.)  I wish more people would value a hand-created painting and want one, but I’m in competition with framed fakes anyone can drag home from Target or Wal-Mart and slap on the wall.

Too bad Warhol isn’t around to shake things up anymore.

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