Take a look at this picture of one-time musical genius Pharrell Williams.
Other than him sporting a very fashionable 'fixed gear' bike, what else do you notice? Is it the fucking awesome custom Family Guy Painting by Kaws? Or is it the tears behind his eyes as he further tries to define himself through his possessions? Probably the painting, right?
Since I've been aware of it, I've always been fascinated by postmodernism, particularly the movement's fascination with recontextualising icons and existing facets of popular culture. In layman's terms; I always felt that all the good ideas had already been done and I admired postmodernism's honesty, admitting to reworking past ideas to try and makes something at least half-new.
Kaws is easily my favourite contemporary artist, for many reasons. He paints with bold block colour, has a Graffiti background and could be considered as the very embodiment of this sort of postmodernism. His trademark crossed eyes have reworked icons as distinctive as The Simpsons and Mickey Mouse, and more recently helped to cement Spongebob Squarepants' rightful place in pop culture history.
The Family Guy painting as modelled by Mr. P has struck a particularlarly negative chord with me though. I refuse to believe that Family Guy and its characters can be considered to be truly iconic, after all, the last 3 series' were utter shit and have no long-standing place in pop culture and more importantly, how can a show that is a collage of The Honeymooners, The Simpsons and The Flintstones be reworked when so few of its elements are its own?
Perhaps Kaws identifies with Family Guy because they both rely on recontextualising the past in order to make something new. Maybe Kaws is commenting upon his own character with this painting, in which case, it is the best thing he has ever done. Fascinating how I have these debates with myself, isn't it? God, someone please talk to me about this. What do you think?
I'd like to believe that Kaws truly understands Family Guy and is using it to reflect upon himself, but I still have the underlying feeling that Pharrell gave him $50,000 just to 'do the Griffins'. Whichever way, I feel better for sounding off. Please excuse the erratic nature of my writing and just enjoy some of Kaws' finer works:
Please note that despite my negative tone, I thought that the last N*E*R*D album was amazing, it's just that the Neptunes' production has gone a little off the boil lately, and Pharrell seems far too concerned with 'owning shit' like most rap wankers. Also, if you're curious, check Wikipedia for the Fixed Gear trend. It escapes me, just know that it is synonymous with New York hipsters.
The Faux Bot