The first in the series of Utamaro Lichtenstein paintings. While the original painting somewhat ridicules the stereotypes of successful artist of the 60’s, I tried to present alternative Japanese version but in nowadays context. For the artist and his girlfriend I used Sharaku´s ōkubi-e, bust portraits, of Actor Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi, onnagata (male actor in a role of a woman), and Matsumoto Koshiro IV as Sakaya Gorobei holding a pipe. On my painting we have almost similar situation, but my characters here are different. Artist is an older man; Hokusai for example did his Great Wave off Kanagawa in his late 60ies, still hyped from painting all night. He is that kind of guy who partied with David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Berlin, we can see different piercing on his face, painted nails in black, he is someone who would listen to Korn’s music, his kimono is A.D.I.D.A.S. brand, he is bold and he wears cheap off the street skulls bandana. On the other side, instead of beautiful blondie, we see transvestite, who could be his friend, dealer, partner/lover. He has undergone plastic surgery, a bit deformed from cheap facelift; his earing is Madonna-like- a- Virgin- kind of statement. His kimono is flawless. Neither of the charters is Japanese in origin, they are Caucasians, New Yorkers. In this piece I combined a bit of reality with stereotypes promoted by TV reality shows.
I tried to emphasize comics- like features of the painting with breaking out of the frame, creating fake field of depth in this flat surfaced painting.
Technique: acrylic on canvas
Size: 147 x 147 cm (57.87 x 57.87 inch)
Year: February 2014
Availability: In Private Collection