Clipper Ship “Comet”, 2007-2008 Oil on Linen 26 × 38 inches
Clipper Ship “Comet”, 2007-2008
Oil on Linen 26 × 38 inches

This is an appropriation from a Currier and Ives Print of the same title, of one of the fastest ships of their time that went through a terrible storm and famously survived, to become one of the most famous ships in the world.   This originally was in a show called “Good Leaders, Endangered Species, Ships at Sea”, because, on the ebb of the W era, I felt like we needed Good Leaders, because they were like an Endangered Species, in a World that was like a Ship lost at Sea.   Luckily Obama became President, and I felt we were a little less lost at that point, but at the time, the ship seemed like America, strong and powerful, but without a great captain to guide us through the impending doom of the economic recession, and our discursive relationships with the other powers of the world that threatened us.  But like this ship that made it, I felt that America would make it, and will continue to be one of the great countries of our moment and of history.  Also maritime pictures are I think so popular as they are about freedom, of the boat becoming a proxy for the person who is looking at it, and it takes you on a journey to another place.  One of my favorite paintings is the sailboat picture behind the couch at the beginning of the Simpsons, and I feel that it emulates that if you feel like your are stuck in the cul-de-sac suburbia of your Springfield, like the Simpsons, who might look at that painting as a symbol of freedom and escape, that looking at art can also be a talisman for transcendent journeys.  After I painted this I was astonished to see that ironically, this image also makes an appearance in a horror movie staring John Cusak and Samuel L. Jackson called 1408 in a hotel room that becomes haunted in a surreal way, and they show the sailboat painting in the room changed to this—like the stretched paintings by Disney animator Mac Davis in the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland!   But the original Currier and Ives print I believe was about the hope for America to survive all storms like the power of the boat, and allegorically for me, if the boat could be like a person, that we can survive the trials of our life and come out the stronger for them, and perhaps still win at the end of the day!  It was also interesting to make a painted image from a print, bringing out the colors of what could be a two-dimensional printed image into a three dimensional oil painted plastic world, that also hopefully carries with it the depth and dimension of myself, as I painted fervently through the work to help my own self into a better world of a more exalted plane through the act of painting it.



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Currier & Ives: Clipper Ship "Comet" of New York, 1852