Is there a new Lichtenstein roaming the forests? Scott Edelman has brought to our attention the work of Sharon Moody, who paints trompe l’oeil paintings of comics by Jack Kirby, Sal Buscema and others — but Edelman is bothered by the fact that the source artists are not credited anywhere:
The intended market of buyers for these works of art would probably assume that the comics depicted in them sprang whole from the mind of the artist, and are a commentary on pop culture in general, rather than being line for line reproductions so close to the original comics that the artist might have been better served taking a photograph of the original comic book pages and framing that. Roy Lichtenstein, who I felt was profiteering on the work of great comics artists, at least altered them to suit his own style…
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Moody and her appropriations:
And Moody’s own explanation of her work:
Recently I have been making paintings based on games, toys and other forms of entertainment that reflect the universal human desire for amusement, diversion, and stimulation. These seem a proper subject for trompe l’oeil paintings, which by their very nature are intended to divert and entrance us with their illusionism and by the questions they raise—in a playful way—about perception and reality.
Edelman is surely right to become protective of the rights of the artists who actually created the Pop Art comics style of comics that has been so widely appropriated. And a mention of the original artists might have been appropriate. However, Moody’s considerable skill at trompe l’oeil indicates to me that she is bringing something to the party, art-wise.
It’s part of the whole problem in the mash-up age of art — curation has replaced creation at times. Moody could have just sat down and made a Tumblr blog, but she picked up a paintbrush.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.