(Everything in Its Right Place)

I have been in Zen for some time. Life has been good in general. I have come in terms with myself. Everything is on its right place and this painting represents just that, a state of my life/mind.

The name comes from Everything on its Right Place song by Radiohead, and it is primary emotional influence and source of this painting. This song marks the beginning of Radiohead´s departure from the same old rock n roll to more minimalistic, yet more expressive and alternative way in music. I like guitars but I do love electronic music and any experimental. Doing things by the book is ok until you master them and then it is real time to play. Moving beyond of what is comfortable for you and for the others is the hardest part in personal development but it is the only thing that brings the deepest feeling of joy.

As a visual symbol for all of this I chose to build upon Golf Ball painting by Roy Lichtenstein from 1962, a black and white, two dimensional illusion of a 3D object, a mother of Superflat. When you analyze this painting you will come to conclusion that shadows on the ball are unrealistic, there is no single source (or multiple) of light and there is no perspective, whatsoever – all the beautiful things that have been pinnacles of the Western realistic painting. What I decided is to do a lemon in the same way, but with additional play with perspective and colors.  Firstly, I introduced fake perspective by splitting canvas in two identical- in- size halves, creating a perspective line between those two that separates the upper, lighter part from darker part, below. For lemon I used Lemon Yellow color, 12 layers of it, applied with roller that added a texture that will have everyone assume it is lemon like. Over it I painted Cadmium Orange in brushstrokes as similar as to Lichtenstein´s. But I reverted to mayhem of Mondrian’s Plus and Minus paintings that Lichtenstein quoted as inspiration for the Golf Ball.  And I added green for petiole. The entire lemon has been outlined with gold.

The finished painting maintains two dimensional characteristics but it also has livingness evoked by arrhythmic repetition of orange brush strokes. Although it initially looks really simplistic it resembles life with its illusion of peace and (controlled) chaos.

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 81,3 x 81,3 cm

Year: March 2020

Availability: In Private Collection

Utamaro Lichtenstein

After presenting/exhibiting first series of paintings from the 100 Views of Ukiyo-e, I immediately started to think about further development of my idea that Pop art and most of the modern arts are rooted in Ukiyo-e. In the 100 Views of Ukiyo-e I am trying to present Ukiyo-e prints as contemporary art, by giving them new “original” painting, new source. In the process of painting, more or less, Ukiyo-e prints are modernized to achieve more global symbolism.  What I noticed is that people still perceived my paintings as Japanese and even exhibitions are called Japanese art exhibitions, therefore failing to see that it became, in a way, Bosnian art, and that Ukiyo-e has still a strong global influence and should be perceived as one of the pillars of the global art, meaning not just Japanese/Asian but the World history of art.In the process of thinking I had to come back to the beginning of my research.  My research began with American Pop art and my interest for the fine arts began when I saw Roy Lichtensten´s Whaam! painting in some art magazine or a book. Printed on the size of the regular comic frame, even with the size written underneath the print, what I saw were just comics being recognized as fine art. One year later, I applied to Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo.  In the final year, I was able to research Pop art more actively and one thing led to another, and I ended up researching Ukiyo-e.

But what about Pop art and Lichtenstein and Ukiyo-e?

Lichtenstein’s work could be also perceived as Appropriation art, for its source comes from another visual medium. On the other hand, my art is mostly Appropriation art, and it usually deals with question of the copy and original. For example, all “original” subjects of my paintings are known to me through their printed or digital copies. I could only imagine their size, their colors, or their texture and surface relief. So my painting is alternative to original and in most cases it is alternated original. So if I say that Ukiyo-e is Pop art, am I not saying that Pop art is Ukiyo-e? And welcome to the birth of Utamaro Lichtenstein. It is a series of paintings that have source in Lichtenstein work, but they will be Japanized, as if Lichtenstein himself was Japanese, and we are all living in alternative universe where Eastern hemisphere and arts dominated over the Western. I chose name Utamaro, as it is one of the most mentioned artist who influenced Impressionism and I added Lichtenstein as in Ukiyo-e practice for artist to adopt family name of his school master. Painting will be comment to more contemporary subjects. As in early translations of Mangas (Japanese comics), where pages were mirrored to allow more left to right reading flow, all paintings will be mirrored to achieve right to left flow. All paintings will be signed as Utamaro Lichtenstein.