THE INTERSECTION OF IMAGE
by Richard Adkins
Copyright, 1989, 2020
Hollywood has always exerted a strong visual influence on popular culture and style. When Clark Gable displayed a t-shirtless chest in "It Happened One Night," undershirt sales plummeted. When Jean Harlow appeared with her white blonde hair in 1930, hair salons all over the country profited by the surge in demand for "platinum" hair. White telephones, beds without footboards called "Hollywood Beds" and even a car called the Graham "Hollywood" based on the expired Cord body style - streamlined and modern, entered the marketplace inspired by the images of desire marketed by the Dream Factories in Hollywood, California and consumed by the masses internationally.
Only a few conventional artists included film images in their work, Reginald Marsh's representational painting of a theatre interior, Edward Hopper's usherette and a symbolic painting, "Mae West" by Salvador Dali. Dali's work influenced the illusion of space represented in films such as "Down to Earth" and Dali himself painted a backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound."
The selling of "stars," motion picture performers, has always had an unplanned, unintentional byproduct - stars believing their publicity and the same media machines that cause the public to worship stars simultaneously profits by revealing their flaws. This schizophrenic conflict between image and reality; perfection and destruction; and the failure of success is what has fueled the artwork of a number of artists, myself included.
The images created by the art of photographs, posters, and other ephemera generated by the entertainment industry, inspired me from the beginning of my career in the 1970s and continue to fascinate me to this day.
'Usherette" Reginald Marsh, 1939
"Mae West" Salvador Dali 1933-1935
"New York Movie" Edward Hopper, 1939
Gypsy Rose Lee, 1937. Photo by George Hurrell
"Turquoise Marilyn" Andy Warhol, 1962