Welcome to my virtual living room. This was a project for my Beginning Photoshop class in 2010. It captures my fascination with popular culture quite well, and it is certainly a lot more interesting than my real living room. This is the face of popular culture in the twentyfirst century. Everyone creates their own versions of the culture which surrounds them. Popular culture today is interactive, which leads to a lot of thorny issues I won’t go into here. Popular culture has always involved an interaction between the viewer, listener, or reader’s imagination and the work. This is where the magic occurs. When I was a kid I used carbon paper to trace images from my Batman comic books. I created my own stories for my own amusement. Much the same sort of thing happens today with the varied multimedia tools available to us all. We use the sounds, images, and words of popular culture to produce our own product. So long as we aren’t selling our product, we reason that we are not violating any laws. If we are creating projects for school we are generally protected under fair use laws. This is a difficult area for consumers and artists, because today the consumer also becomes an artist.
This virtual living room also reveals a few of my obsessions within pop culture. I am fascinated by the weird and mysterious fringe areas of popular culture exemplified by Donnie Darko. The rabbit stands guard here, about ten times larger than the original figure. Batman of course, I have mentioned before, and he continues to resonate with me. Batman wasn’t always so cool, I was teased relentlessly for the Batman sticker on my bicycle. There weren’t any action figures when I was a kid, only models of Superman or Batman that you had to assemble. If I could afford it, I’d have a ton of action figures. So that is another obsession. They are especially fun because they are tangible, you can actually hold an action figure in your hand. In our virtual entertainment paradise we lose the tactile quality of toys. I think it is important to have an actual object to play with. I am not an advocate of keeping things in their boxes. I am not a collector. I want to play with my toys. Of course Andy Warhol’s Marilyn stares down from the wall. She is the queen of pop culture. Elvis is the king. Considering he is one more of my obsessions it is odd that he isn’t present. The devil girl bathed in red light is also a cute touch. I like kitsch, especially the underground comic sort of kitsch, which this sort of is. I liked how the San Francisco street outside appears like a watercolor. Nice unintended artifact.
I am fascinated by the interface between imagination and art, which is the essence of popular culture. To a child everything gets mixed together, they aren’t bothered by differences in scale, playing with a plastic dinosaur and a huge teddy bear at the same time. Things don’t have to make sense, the child gives it his or her own sense. That is the spirit of today’s popular cultural explosion. So this blog isn’t entirely about the passive consumer aspect of pop culture, it is also about the deconstruction of pop culture and the new art that emerges from that. So…anyway would you like an oreo?, they are right there on the coffee table. Help yourself.