Art Gallery: “Astro-Zombie Clown”
July 31, 2012 Leave a Comment
“Astro-Zombie Clown, approx 18″x12”, acrylic and paintmarker on cheap prefab stretched canvas.
A lot smaller and a lot sillier than most stuff I’ve done in the past, this painting was done as a surprise birthday present. The key factor was that it had to fit comfortably in my carry-on luggage so I could deliver it in person while I was home on leave. Anyone familiar with the ubiquitous Misfits skull logo plastered on every kind of mall merchandise imaginable, will recognize the base for this silly character. The clown wig and nose should be pretty straightforward, too.
Originally stolen from one of the best/worst B-movie sci-fi flicks to ever hit the drive-in screen, the “Misfits skull logo” is actually a villan called an Astro Zombie from the epic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Definitely check it out if you’re into old sci-fi drive-in pulp; it was at one time named ‘the worst movie ever made!’ What was intended to be a scary and powerful image of dread by both the original filmmakers and Glenn Danzig’s crew of necro-rockabilly punkers, has been diluted to a weak icon of mall culture’s over-merchandised line of approved angst products.
The clown wig and nose have ironically traveled in the opposite direction has an emotion triggering symbol, at least for many of the people I spoke to about clowns after doing this painting. (Yes, I really had multiple discussions about clown-phobia after sharing this image.) What was intended as a joyful, exciting, and harmless image of childish mirth and laughter has become a symbol of deep primal fear for many people. Ironic, but not entirely confusing given the circumstances of many children’s exposures to the modern clown archetype.
Together, the two symbols seem to neutralize each other. Personally, the thing just cracked me up every time I walked past it! I apologize in advance if this image triggers buried childhood night terrors for anyone. Enjoy!”