Rebel Art and How to Rock It

I don’t think I’ve felt this rebellious since I overtook a caravan on double white lines.

I’m Claire and I’m a 44 year old mother of two with a passion for baking, poetry writing and grafitti-ing old paintings.

So what you going to do about it?

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Well you can copy me if you like? It feels all kinds of good.

Appropriation art is a thing in all the right circles, trust me on this. It’s where a piece of art (preferably one that is past it) is updated to be more appropriate for the current market. It may have been embellished, collaged, touched up, or in my case scrawled upon with messages of endearment or empowerment. Here’s another much admired piece I sold as part of my little up-cycled art venture, No Two Walls.

Appropriation art by Yours Truly

Appropriation art by Yours Truly

Clearly, these examples are not exactly masterpieces that you are likely to leave your children in your will. That’s precisely the point. They’re a post modern, tongue in cheek entry into the classification of art - so low brow that they’re high brow, see?

In combining a celebrated art form (the floral still life) with a relatively new obsession (typography) my new obsession for painting on pictures offers a new perspective on art that would otherwise be destined to clutter the shelves of a charity shop. I use only cheap reproduction pictures that are now, sadly, only worth the frames they are mounted in - They make the unoriginal, original. And THAT’s what (in my world anyway) makes them cool.

Making them is absolutely as easy as it looks. You don’t need an art degree and - come to think of it - being good at spelling isn’t all that important either. It may even add to the charade in some instances. Essentially, all you need is the luck to stumble upon a really un-loveable picture that has at some point in it’s chequered past been cared for enough to be deemed worthy of a decent frame. And then you need the balls to paint on it.

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This one isn’t even a painting - it’s a print - and a sun faded one at that, which made it far less gut wrenching to de-face.

There’s not much room for making mistakes on this sort of thing, which can make it slightly unnerving. A washable paint, such as chalk paint is more forgiving, but bear in mind that oil paintings have bumps and lumps on them which the fresh paint can stick to, so I find it’s best to commit to the job and just go for it. The worst that can happen is that you make a crap picture crapper. In which case, re-use the frame for a different project. That’s why I don’t like to pay more than £10 for the picture in the first place, although the more you pay, the better the frame is likely to be and sometimes this can make more of a difference than the background.

If you do find a lovely floral still life in a gorgeous gilt frame, please do consider if vandalising it is creative or criminal. Obviously check out the painter if it’s got a signature on it. Google can provide a quick fire response on a collectible artist.

If the colours are too beautiful, think twice. Ask yourself, could the flowers still be enjoyed without your graffiti on them? If the answer is no, then it’s OK to paint on it. Getting the right amount of twee, with the right amount of modern is where the magic happens.

Take this brown oil on board for example. It aint pretty. The colours are a bit samey but it has a hippy, retro vibe to it that does appeal. The frame is non descript so it’s not going to win fans on its own merit. I made the call that it would benefit from a little style statement and now it brings a smile to my face in the laundry room.

A No Two Walls un-original original.

A No Two Walls un-original original.

This one on the other hand, I can’t bring myself to scrawl on. It’s not by anyone famous, the frame isn’t amazing, but the colours are pretty and it’s somehow still got a charm to it, albeit in an innocent, amateurish kind of way. This one is safe from my rebel paintbrush. For now at least.

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Landscapes are easier to come across than florals, simply because they are less in vogue. They don’t work quite as well but I still think you can have fun with them that’s better than them heading to landfill.

I’d like to think they would make very cool wall fillers in student digs or similar, but am willing for this to go up in the man cave, should it ever come to fruition. It’s quite possibly somebody’s A level copy of the famous Hay Wain by Constable and I had to be in a particularly rebellious #SorryNotSorry mood when I wrote on it. In the end I decided it was better to be uniquely controversial than a blatant fake. … So handcuff me…

Hey, Wayne, you’re mum is gonna kill you.

Hey, Wayne, you’re mum is gonna kill you.

A more popular choice of wording would be some cool music lyrics that mean something to you or your other half. I’ll be doing more of these on No Two Walls so keep a look out if you like the idea, but don’t like the deed.

And what about a marriage proposal via Appropriation Art? Surely that’s got to be the coolest way to say I do next week on Valentines Day, what do you say? Let me know in the comments section.

Or maybe not?

Or maybe not?

Happy Valentines week art rebels.
Claire