Tuesday, August 3, 2010


24" x 16"
oil behind plexiglass, 2010

After Mia Zapata (see previous...) M.I.A. is the next singer to re-appear in the Top 100. I used the same image as I painted last year but it illustrates a different song. Born Free, built around a sample of Suicide's Ghost Rider (the original track appeared twice in previous Top 100 lists), is from her brand new CD Maya but I found it on a compilation CD tucked in the Believer: 2010 Music Issue magazine. Born Free, according to the editors of Believer, is "a way of acknowledging her growing hipster audience", of which I am apparently one. The commentary in the magazine is a political one, be it not about Tamil liberation, but about cultural identity. My head is spinning trying to convey the message. In my notes to last year's painting I commented on my inability to take a political stance and now, after reading, and listening to, so many more opinions about M.I.A. (everybody seems to have one), I'm even less opinionated. I stick to my little "I believe in her integrity" disclaimer I used last year. Being engaged in a discussion on M.I.A. recently, people questioned this integrity. I could not defend her well theoretically, but when I asked if Born Free wasn't the most exciting new music around, they had to admit it was.
The painting, reverse on glass, is an experiment. I've seen my wife Maria have wonderful results with the technique, and it seemed a good way to not have to sacrifice the original sketch, the under painting. Maria often tries to stop me from continuing to paint on certain paintings because the under painting is so lively. As it turns out she liked the back of the painting very much, one can never win...

...I can't resist to mention (again) that Maya Arulpragasam (her real name) shares July 18 as a birthday with me as well as with the Norwegian extreme right-wing politician Vidkun Quisling (for him I would like to refer you to an April entry on Varg Vikernes: Varg and Me).

One last thing: If you spotted that M.I.A.'s legs in the painting are proportionally a little short —good eyes. This time it is not because of my shortcomings as a painter but it is due to my lousy photography skills (or a shitty camera).

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