Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 12''
2010 - #187

Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol both died during years that are significant in my own existence. Monroe died 7 months on the same year I was born while Warhol died on the same month I did my first painting (February, 1987). This painting is double whammy of sorts, as a homage to both Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. This composition just kind of happened by itself after finishing a photo session for an upcoming painting. The mini notebook with Marilyn Monroe on it's cover was delivered earlier that day by FedEx along with a my new stainless steel architect lamp from Crate & Barrel for my studio. The moment I started to play with props, the whole narrative came into light.

Warhol' s resonating, brilliant colored silksceens of Marilyn Monroe are some of his most iconic images. Warhol said: '' In August 1962 I started doing silkscreens. I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly line effect. With silkscreening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk, and then roll ink across it so the ink goes through the silk but not through the glue. That way you get the same image, slightly different each time. It was all so simple-quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it. When Marilyn Monroe happened to die that month, I got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face''. Andy Warhol would continue to do variation of this silkscreen of Monroe during the 1960's. The image of Marilyn was from a publicity still for the movie Niagara (1953). In this painting the image is from Warhol's ''Shot Orange Marilyn'',1964, 40 x 40'' (detail).

This painting pays tribute to Monroe and her other films done in 1952-1953. The title for the painting is a line from the lyrics of ''Diamonds are forever'' from the film ''Gentlemen prefer blonds'' (1953) co-starring Jane Russell. This specific song/dance number in the film remains one of greatest moment of the musical era's golden age of cinema. It would later serve as the inspiration behind Madonna's video for ''Material girl'' . Park Place/Boardwalk are the highest priced pieces of real estate on the Monopoly board game and with it's diamond ring in the middle it refers to ''How to Marry a Millionaire''(1953). The monkey from a Barrel of Monkeys is referring to her comedy, ''Monkey Business'' (1952), co-starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers.

Marilyn Monroe remains to this date one of the most famous person in the world. Almost 50 years after her mysterious death, she remains as popular as ever. Her persona and beauty has captured the attention and hearts of millions and she has become an iconic figure in popular culture. This immense list on Wikipedia is but a sample of how her legacy lives on through other mediums. Click HERE. I read a biography on her more than 20 year ago, and got the sense that she was often misunderstood. Her difficult childhood would often return to haunt her throughout her life and personnal trials. She could play a dumb blond like no body's business, but she was also a gifted actress and the camera loved her.

I've always had this fascination about her as long as I can remember. I leave you with a few of Marilyn Monroe's quotes-
-Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting then being one.

-Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experience, but that's not where I live.

-I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.

-My work is the only ground I've ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation but I'm working on the foundation.

-Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.

-I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.

-What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.

-If I'm a star, then the people made me a star.