20100720

GRUNGE ART - Rorschach Pop Art with a Schmear?

My Rorschach Grungy Graffiti with a Pop Art Touch

With my artistic bent towards pop art and pop culture I always taken note of how the world of advertising and marketing bring fringe movements to the mass media of billboards, TV ads and product hawking. It has always fascinated me that underground movements that wish to defy the commercialization of the modern world end up as such a large part of that world sooner or later.

The marketing machine of modern times is a hungry, voracious carnivore always on the ready to gobble up the latest "hot trend" and poop it back out to aid their product sales. This has always been somewhat humorous to me which is why most of my pop art has a decidedly light, silly and colorful feel to it - I think laughter is a much better weapon to deflate pomposity than anger.

In the past year or so I've been seeing a lot of the Grunge influence popping up in ads and marketing. Cars, clothing and a ton of other brands/products are all getting a bit messy with the splatters, splats, drips and uncontrolled element that are big part of the grunge look. Whenever I see a new visual trend in mass media I get my "pop art" radar up and start doing some digging around to find the inspiration. In this case it was the Grunge movement that started in the mid eighties in Seattle, Washington.

There's some lively discussion as to what constitutes "grunge art" but messy and dark seem to be the two common elements. Remember that this art is inspired by the Grunge music scene that started in Seattle - a music that merges the punk/hard rock sounds of the preceding era with the apathy and angst of the youth of the 80s. Most people will think Nirvana and Pearl Jam, though both these groups were a more commercialized interpretation of the original Indie garage music beginnings.

There was a lot of distortion to the instruments in grunge music, especially the guitar, kind of a "messy" style of music filled with dark emotions (angst) and characterized by "grungy" looking band members. (The term grungy itself originated sometime in the mid sixties as an alternate term for dirty or filthy and to this day I still use the term for something dirty and sticky - i.e. "my kitchen floor is so grungy my feet are sticking to the tile!") Thus angst, boredom, dishevelment and distorted sound combine to create Grunge and Grunge art is a visual of these same qualities.

Twenty five years or so later Madison Avenue gets a hold of it and turns it into a sales aid - then I have to get a hold of that and turn it into a visual prank! Behold! My take on the Grunge trend of today's popular culture - a Pop Art of a graffiti Rorschach test on acid. And yes, being a former Mad Woman, I turned it into products too - that's just what I do.

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