The Seven Deadly Sins

Originally posted February 23, 2017

Before I even got an art residency, I had already come up with an idea for what I wanted to work on during that time.  I am always looking for ways to push my skill set and have been trying to do larger collages. I normally work on a very small scale.  I also wanted to do a series as I have never done one before.

Since I am going out of my comfort zone I thought this residency would be perfect for getting critique from other artists in my residency group on what is working and what isn’t.

For my series I wanted to collage the seven deadly sins and use an animal to represent each one of the sins.

The seven deadly sins include: wrath, lust, gluttony, envy, greed, sloth, and pride.

I originally started with some notes and little sketches in my sketchbook.

I had some animals in mind for each sin.

I wanted to use lions to show pride.

I wanted to use sloths to show sloth, but I have been wrestling with the idea of using snails.

I had an idea to use squirrels for wrath and show them dropping bombs from the trees instead of nuts.

For envy I wanted to use cats.  I think a lot of the time cats have an envious look on their face.

I wanted to use pigs for gluttony, mice for greed and finally bunnies to show lust.

After I had done my sketches I went to work on Pride and Wrath.  When they were finished I was happy with them, but then I started working on Gluttony.

I was looking through all these magazines from the 40’s that had all these awesome food advertisements and I decided I had to make them apart of it.

When I finished with Gluttony I absolutely loved it, and suddenly I didn’t love “Pride” and “Wrath” anymore.  I didn’t see them as the same quality of work and I didn’t see the series as being cohesive.

I then worked on Sloth and I hated that too.

Then I recently started working on Lust.  This was a challenge.

Most of the work that I do is quite playful with some subversive humor thrown in.

A lot of people have said to me I should illustrate children’s books or that my collages would be great for decorating a children’s room.  All of this made me feel like my work as an artist was supposed to be kid-friendly and trying to make Lust kid friendly is extremely difficult. All my sketches just looked like a valentine’s day card, not the same thing!

I decided to push the kids out of the picture.  I thought, yea I agree my work is playful but since when is play just for kids?  I have continued to think about this more while working on this piece, and hope to develop this concept more in my future work.

This wasn’t the only hurdle when executing Lust.  After throwing out the valentine’s day concepts I came up with an idea to find some scandalous images of men and women from old magazines and replace their heads with bunny heads.  And for the background I was going to paint some abstract flowers that hinted at genitalia.

So there were some problems.

Vintage magazines have very limited scandalous photos and I found no scandalous photos of men whatsoever.  I felt I was very lucky to find the few Marilyn Monroe images that I did.

The abstract flowers as a background didn’t work either.  They weren’t very visible when the images were placed on top.

I could not catch a break.

I started sketching again, thinking, what is it that bunnies love? They love carrots, right? And so I came up with this!

I am now very pleased with both Gluttony and Lust.  With Lust it was a long time getting there but it was worth it.

This past week I have started working on greed and so far its going pretty well.  I am still in the collecting materials phase.

I want the mouse to be lying on a bed of coins, jewels, and riches!

Earlier this month, I met with my residency leader Christina Kelly and got her feedback on some of the pieces.

She pointed out that sloth seemed very busy, which is the opposite of sloth, so slow it down.

Wrath to her also did not look wrathful enough.  The squirrels have bombs but they don’t look like they have the intent to actually hurt anyone.

Next Tuesday is my next residency meeting and I have been chosen to present my series for critique. I hope to get some more feedback then.  Hopefully its not too painful.

Thanks for reading.