Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, 2005 Oil on Linen 32 × 44 inches
Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, 2005
Oil on Linen 32 × 44 inches

Painted originally for the Heroes series, the beginning of the My American Dream meta-narrative, this painting represents Errol Flynn, who was a great actor who happened to be bisexual but powerful and one of the greats who started United Artists, as the character Robin Hood, one of the best characters in adventure story fiction. I realized at this point in my career that although I had been painting people in a sort of "star system" where I would "employ" them to act out in characters in stories of my own device, that while painting important people in history, there was enough story in them, and historical resonance to give them symbolic weight and allegorical power, and that they also had enough visual verve to send me into great meditations while painting. This image had both the real-life hero that was Flynn, and the cultural hero of Robin Hood, so it was really "one stop shopping" while painting—I could think of this man who changed Hollywood with his winning charisma, one that was partially derived from his "queerdom," and also the "queer" notions of how Robin Hood was able to stand strong outside the capitalist, phallocentric order—how as a rebel and a rogue he was able to contradict a poisoned authority and bring justice to all the people in his land with style and panache. I love Cézanne rocks and foliage, that for me spill into unconscious worlds that were projected by his subconscious onto the map of what his conscious mind was painting, and hope that here the wild other worlds of Nature also steep into an unconscious, optimistic dream world of all this painting can stand for—not just for children in the UK, but generations of Americans and all parts of the world this great character—and actor who defined Robin Hood and is still the definitive performance.