Behind the Art: In the Belly of the Beast
When my older daughter Jordan was about eight or so, she used to enjoy looking at my art books. In particular, she was drawn to one I have about Miro.
I would sit in my big black leather chair in the living room with her on my lap. We would leaf through the Miro book together, and she was pause on paintings that really drew her attention.
Jordan would often point to specific parts of an image and laugh out loud. She like the fact that Miro’s work wasn’t too serious, just the opposite in fact; it’s the type of humor that seems subtle to adults but kids get right away.
All that came to fruition when I painted “Belly Of The Beast,” as I took a whimsical, almost childlike approach to the painting. It all paid off because this artwork has become something of a signature piece that has garnered hundreds of likes and comments on Instagram.
I believe it’s because that painting embodies my playful approach, my color story and my link to the power of unconscious symbolism in art. In that regard, the painting has become a bit of a Rorschach test.
Folks see all kinds of different ideas in the smiling main character set against a deep blue background. That “beast” could be in the ocean or outer space, giving it a modern surrealistic feel.
On the lower right we have the shape of a crimson vase set off by breasts, a long neck and a cross. I’ve heard people say it reminds them of a vagina or of Lady Madonna from the Beatles songs.
To the left we have a blue image that could be a hand or coral reefs as seen from outer space. The main character is basically cut in half with a section that I left unpainted and added to that by scraping it to let the intense background shine through.
And in the upper section we find two faces, one black and the other painted orange as a contrast but that also has an “unfinished” section to once again drive home the power of the background.
Personally, I really like the way the main character’s eye came out. Set against two rows of white teeth, it gives the painting an extra pop as a nice focal point. It also makes the character look proud of an accomplishment, like maybe capturing the characters inside the belly. At the same tim, it also gives the view a comically eerie sense that the beast is keeping an eye on you. Who knows? Maybe he’s still “hungry.”
This painting came together quickly and was a blast to do. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.
Click here to see the painting and a video of me talking about the piece.