Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Deviant Member James FlaxmanMale/Australia Groups :iconmachete-girl-ezine: Machete-Girl-Ezine
 
Recent Activity
Deviant for 6 Years
Needs Premium Membership
Statistics 397 Deviations 2,943 Comments 142,846 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Favourites

Groups

Activity


I’m not posting so much work these days but I’m putting more time into it. This seems to be paying off; “The Desecration of Adam” went down much better than expected. I’ve had a hard time keeping up due to limited net access but I’m still amazed at the response. Some suggestions have been interesting – ADeviantRogue thought the picture would be improved if my Adam was holding a handful of money while TheRizz and DedHampster thought a less sinister clown would be more appropriate. I’m sure more talented artists could take these ideas further but I think I’ve done enough and have no urge to draw cherubs again.

 

Any piece so widely viewed is going to get negative feedback and some of it’s been justified. I was too hard on Michelangelo, though I was only criticising one small aspect of his work and have great admiration for the rest. As I explained to one viewer ancient Hebrew mythology describes cherubs as awe-inspiring creatures that look more like griffons or manticores and I’d find these more interesting than later interpretations. The chubby baby “cherubs” are more properly called “putti” and show up more often in Baroque and Rococo art, but that doesn’t change my preference for lion-eagle-human hybrids.

 

I don’t think my piece is incredibly deep or says anything original. The image seemed so obvious I looked for others like it online before I started work on it. Sure enough I found a few (though my Clown God and Fat Adam are firsts). It belongs in my “Lost and Forsaken” collection (black humour and pop culture parodies) more than “Allegorical” (darker and more serious work). One viewer thought it was pretentious, which suggests he’s new to modern art – if he really wants pretentious he should look the statements made by Rothko/Pollock imitators. The positive responses I’ve had show just how effective more traditional art forms can be. I might not be saying anything new, but I’ve made a statement in a powerful and accessible way that makes wall text unnecessary.

 

Moving on from criticism, my work has encouraged some worthwhile discussion about our attitudes to food. I’ve always been a bit confused when people say fast food is cheaper. In my experience it’s not, but I speak from an Australian perspective and things may be very different elsewhere. It’s certainly convenient and unless you’ve planned ahead it’s sometimes your only option. I spent six years in Ashfield, Sydney, a few minutes’ walk from a Nandos, McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Subway and KFC, and I wasn’t above the odd fix (just as I’m not above it now). I don’t think fast food should be banned, and as I’ve hopefully made clear, our choices make a difference even when they’re limited. I was pleased to see some viewers noticed one important detail – the clown’s offering fries to a man who obviously doesn’t need any more but is reaching for them anyway.

 

I doubt I’ll cause such a stir again soon but it’s encouraging to see a satirical piece go down so well. I’ve given more thought to satire after the recent Paris attacks. I’ve never had to deal with death threats and most likely never will but I’ve noticed my satirical work gets the craziest responses. None come close to VishnuofVideogames’ comment on “Pachuatl Manipochtli” which might be textbook schizophrenia or the work of an inspired troll. I never bothered to reply but it’s a fascinating read.

 

Most of the angrier comments I’ve had are much less imaginative and remind me of the claim “psychos have no sense of humour.” I don’t agree with this myself – plenty of psychotics laugh, if at times inappropriately – but some people react to satire in borderline psychotic ways. This might be expected when their beliefs are ridiculed – more so if believers have real political grievances, as many contemporary Muslims do – though shooting cartoonists is infantile and does nothing for their cause.

 

I’ve seen similar infantilism in pop culture devotees, though I doubt anyone will ever be shot (or sliced with a katana!) over Sonic the Hedgehog or My Little Pony. I know I’ve upset some fans, just as I know I’ve entertained others; “I’m a brony and I laughed” shows there’s hope for humankind. My best advice for those offended draws on better work than mine: the music of Rossini and Wagner and its later influence on Warner Brothers animators.

 

I’ve never had the patience to sit through hours of opera but I like some orchestral scores. Rossini’s mostly light and upbeat and it’s been good listening when my moods were the opposite. Wagner’s more dramatic and there’s a time and place for this too. People who don’t care for either might still appreciate parts of William Tell (which isn’t typical Rossini) as the perfect theme for galloping horses and The Ride of the Valkyries (which is quintessential Wagner) as great music for an air raid. I’ll always associate Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers with an adventurous ex-girlfriend and Wagner’s Faust Overture with the dark and stormy nights I preferred when working graveyard shifts. It’s worth comparing the composers: Rossini set out to entertain and quickly made a name for himself, wrote much less in later life but gave younger musicians help and support. Wagner struggled with debt, the law, and personal relationships but eventually had great success with the four operas of “The Ring” which appealed to German nationalists and humanist philosophers. His influence can still be heard in the film scores of today.

 

Rossini and Wagner have also inspired Bugs Bunny cartoons – “The Rabbit of Seville” and “What’s Opera Doc” – and you don’t have to like classical music to enjoy these parodies. A bit of background knowledge makes some moments funnier – Bugs’ line “O mighty warrior of great fighting stock,” addressed to Elmer Fudd in the latter, could be aimed at Nazism as much as Wagner’s incestuous storyline (Wagner was Hitler’s favourite composer and Warner Brothers employed many Jewish animators). I’ve often wondered what the composers would make of these cartoons. Given his sense of humour and his music’s wide appeal Rossini might appreciate them, but given his more serious themes and infamous anti-Semitism Wagner might be deeply offended. Anyone with strong attachments to more modern entertainment should at this point ask themselves “am I a Wagner or Rossini?” Should pop culture parodies be considered blasphemous or acknowledged as a source of fun – for others, if not for ourselves?

 

There’s another way to look at things and it’s possibly the best of all. My enjoyment of Rossini and Wagner hasn’t been affected by a cross-dressing cartoon rabbit and I appreciate all three. Parodies of things we like don’t always claim they’re bad or wrong and should not be taken personally. Even if some parodies are in poor taste we can ignore them; and enjoying parodies is not the same as hating those who like whatever has inspired them. This goes further than pop culture. If we all were less attached to the notions that divide us, more open to the views of others, and more able to laugh at ourselves our world would be a better place.

 

Thanks for your time,

JF

  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Hollywood Persuaders - Drums a Go Go
  • Reading: Emails
  • Watching: DA Dramas
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Occasionally
  • Drinking: Mostly water

I’m not posting so much work these days but I’m putting more time into it. This seems to be paying off; “The Desecration of Adam” went down much better than expected. I’ve had a hard time keeping up due to limited net access but I’m still amazed at the response. Some suggestions have been interesting – ADeviantRogue thought the picture would be improved if my Adam was holding a handful of money while TheRizz and DedHampster thought a less sinister clown would be more appropriate. I’m sure more talented artists could take these ideas further but I think I’ve done enough and have no urge to draw cherubs again.

 

Any piece so widely viewed is going to get negative feedback and some of it’s been justified. I was too hard on Michelangelo, though I was only criticising one small aspect of his work and have great admiration for the rest. As I explained to one viewer ancient Hebrew mythology describes cherubs as awe-inspiring creatures that look more like griffons or manticores and I’d find these more interesting than later interpretations. The chubby baby “cherubs” are more properly called “putti” and show up more often in Baroque and Rococo art, but that doesn’t change my preference for lion-eagle-human hybrids.

 

I don’t think my piece is incredibly deep or says anything original. The image seemed so obvious I looked for others like it online before I started work on it. Sure enough I found a few (though my Clown God and Fat Adam are firsts). It belongs in my “Lost and Forsaken” collection (black humour and pop culture parodies) more than “Allegorical” (darker and more serious work). One viewer thought it was pretentious, which suggests he’s new to modern art – if he really wants pretentious he should look the statements made by Rothko/Pollock imitators. The positive responses I’ve had show just how effective more traditional art forms can be. I might not be saying anything new, but I’ve made a statement in a powerful and accessible way that makes wall text unnecessary.

 

Moving on from criticism, my work has encouraged some worthwhile discussion about our attitudes to food. I’ve always been a bit confused when people say fast food is cheaper. In my experience it’s not, but I speak from an Australian perspective and things may be very different elsewhere. It’s certainly convenient and unless you’ve planned ahead it’s sometimes your only option. I spent six years in Ashfield, Sydney, a few minutes’ walk from a Nandos, McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Subway and KFC, and I wasn’t above the odd fix (just as I’m not above it now). I don’t think fast food should be banned, and as I’ve hopefully made clear, our choices make a difference even when they’re limited. I was pleased to see some viewers noticed one important detail – the clown’s offering fries to a man who obviously doesn’t need any more but is reaching for them anyway.

 

I doubt I’ll cause such a stir again soon but it’s encouraging to see a satirical piece go down so well. I’ve given more thought to satire after the recent Paris attacks. I’ve never had to deal with death threats and most likely never will but I’ve noticed my satirical work gets the craziest responses. None come close to VishnuofVideogames’ comment on “Pachuatl Manipochtli” which might be textbook schizophrenia or the work of an inspired troll. I never bothered to reply but it’s a fascinating read.

 

Most of the angrier comments I’ve had are much less imaginative and remind me of the claim “psychos have no sense of humour.” I don’t agree with this myself – plenty of psychotics laugh, if at times inappropriately – but some people react to satire in borderline psychotic ways. This might be expected when their beliefs are ridiculed – more so if believers have real political grievances, as many contemporary Muslims do – though shooting cartoonists is infantile and does nothing for their cause.

 

I’ve seen similar infantilism in pop culture devotees, though I doubt anyone will ever be shot (or sliced with a katana!) over Sonic the Hedgehog or My Little Pony. I know I’ve upset some fans, just as I know I’ve entertained others; “I’m a brony and I laughed” shows there’s hope for humankind. My best advice for those offended draws on better work than mine: the music of Rossini and Wagner and its later influence on Warner Brothers animators.

 

I’ve never had the patience to sit through hours of opera but I like some orchestral scores. Rossini’s mostly light and upbeat and it’s been good listening when my moods were the opposite. Wagner’s more dramatic and there’s a time and place for this too. People who don’t care for either might still appreciate parts of William Tell (which isn’t typical Rossini) as the perfect theme for galloping horses and The Ride of the Valkyries (which is quintessential Wagner) as great music for an air raid. I’ll always associate Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers with an adventurous ex-girlfriend and Wagner’s Faust Overture with the dark and stormy nights I preferred when working graveyard shifts. It’s worth comparing the composers: Rossini set out to entertain and quickly made a name for himself, wrote much less in later life but gave younger musicians help and support. Wagner struggled with debt, the law, and personal relationships but eventually had great success with the four operas of “The Ring” which appealed to German nationalists and humanist philosophers. His influence can still be heard in the film scores of today.

 

Rossini and Wagner have also inspired Bugs Bunny cartoons – “The Rabbit of Seville” and “What’s Opera Doc” – and you don’t have to like classical music to enjoy these parodies. A bit of background knowledge makes some moments funnier – Bugs’ line “O mighty warrior of great fighting stock,” addressed to Elmer Fudd in the latter, could be aimed at Nazism as much as Wagner’s incestuous storyline (Wagner was Hitler’s favourite composer and Warner Brothers employed many Jewish animators). I’ve often wondered what the composers would make of these cartoons. Given his sense of humour and his music’s wide appeal Rossini might appreciate them, but given his more serious themes and infamous anti-Semitism Wagner might be deeply offended. Anyone with strong attachments to more modern entertainment should at this point ask themselves “am I a Wagner or Rossini?” Should pop culture parodies be considered blasphemous or acknowledged as a source of fun – for others, if not for ourselves?

 

There’s another way to look at things and it’s possibly the best of all. My enjoyment of Rossini and Wagner hasn’t been affected by a cross-dressing cartoon rabbit and I appreciate all three. Parodies of things we like don’t always claim they’re bad or wrong and should not be taken personally. Even if some parodies are in poor taste we can ignore them; and enjoying parodies is not the same as hating those who like whatever has inspired them. This goes further than pop culture. If we all were less attached to the notions that divide us, more open to the views of others, and more able to laugh at ourselves our world would be a better place.

 

Thanks for your time,

JF

  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Hollywood Persuaders - Drums a Go Go
  • Reading: Emails
  • Watching: DA Dramas
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Occasionally
  • Drinking: Mostly water

deviantID

jflaxman's Profile Picture
jflaxman
James Flaxman
Australia
Current Residence: Hobart, Australia
deviantWEAR sizing preference: L
Print preference: Varies
Favourite genre of music: Metal, classical, dark ambient
Favourite photographer: Archival
Favourite style of art: Surreal, imaginative, visionary
Operating System: Crappy old PC
MP3 player of choice: Loud
Shell of choice: Armed and mechanised
Wallpaper of choice: Skin
Skin of choice: Metal
Favourite cartoon character: Too many to name
Personal Quote: "So much work, so little time."
Interests

AdCast - Ads from the Community

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:icondancingdeerplz:
dancingdeerplz Featured By Owner 12 hours ago  New member
:icondancingdeerplz:
the dancing reindeer was there
Reply
:iconbokobokoboo:
BokoBokoBoo Featured By Owner 1 day ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
That art so great!
Reply
:iconquebecoiswolf:
QuebecoisWolf Featured By Owner 2 days ago
I've decided that I must watch you.

Any artist who's a friend of Viergacht must be doing something truly amazing.  A quick look around your gallery confirmed my suspicion!
Reply
:iconjflaxman:
jflaxman Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Thanks! Viergacht's work is incredible, great to meet another fan!
Reply
:icondistortedtragedy:
DistortedTragedy Featured By Owner 3 days ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
All of your art is so amazing   :XD:
Reply
:iconkairamclilian:
KairaMcLilian Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Great job
Reply
:iconswerves:
swerves Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
First of all, your art is really fantastic! 
I have a question: have you ever seen Pink Floyd's The Wall?
Your style reminds me a lot of the parts where it shifts into animation.
Reply
:iconjflaxman:
jflaxman Featured By Owner 1 day ago
I haven't seen The Wall, but everyone tells me I should! I've heard it features some big scary authority figures like some in my older cartoons.
Reply
:iconswerves:
swerves Featured By Owner 10 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You must! I think it's still on youtube, and if not, it'd be easy to find it in a record store or something. :D
There's also this Pink Floyd music video that reminds me of your art: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qEsTC…
It's kind of dark and spooky, but really interesting to think about when you get past the initial shock of "oh man, that's creepy". 
Reply
:iconfrozenviolet:
frozenviolet Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I having trying to draw more darker themed pictures for a little while now, but you my friend draw what i can only imagine! Great work! Your really inspiring!
Reply
Add a Comment: