May 24, 2009

Memorial Day for GI Joe

G.I. Joe, the fighting man of the 1960's, with his pistol wielding hands and paddle boat feet, had a pink scar upon his face. I always wanted to erase it. So when I painted his portrait I did leave it out, but put a highlight in its place.
I had a small collection of G.I. Joes as a child in addition to the Barbie entourage I wrote about previously. As I found the Ken doll suspect, Barbie’s consort of the day was the military man, if only so that she could borrow his neat jeep.
To paint the G. I. Joe portrait I altered the lighting on his face so that he was illuminated from below - brightening eye sockets that would ordinarily be in shadow. This gives his face a somewhat less than benign appearance. It is Vincent Price lighting, to be sure. One doesn’t know whether he is terrified himself or is frightening to others.
During my recent exhibition, "Homage to Squares," which closed last week, Joe was hung separately from the other doll portraits, but just around the corner from them. It gave the impression that he was ogling them from a short distance, with surprise and indignation, perhaps?
This little square portrait was different from the female doll heads in that Joe did not get a metal leaf background but a painted one with metallic paint instead. The paint was mottled to look something like battle camouflage. G. I. Joe, once again is at our service.

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