Visual Assignment Adapt an Artist’s Work

Visual Assignment 17 asks us to “Adapt a famous artist’s work to change or reinforce its possible message.” There are a lot of artists out there, but Warhol is always fun to work with. (There is another assignment to “Warhol something”, but I did that in the past, plus it’s only one point). I have chosen to work with his portraits of Mao, but to add Number 6 into the mix.

Mao Number 6

Mao Number 6

The method was relatively trivial. Using GIMP, I opened as layers the pair of photos I wanted to merge. After resizing Number 6’s image to fit the face to Mao, I added transparency to the layer and I then erased everything not of the head. Some Mao imagery remained visible, so I had to use the clone tool to better hide those. Merge down so it is one picture. Repeat for the other three pair. Then take the four, adjust sizes and locations, crop to image, and export as jpg. Oh, and add some posterization to the faces.

Within the Prisoner universe, these images speak to the question of identity. We don’t know Number 6’s name (but I think I heard him called “Gary” in episode 3, “A. B. and C.), but I bet it isn’t Mao. While Number 6 strives for individual identity and freedom from constraint, Mao worked for collective identity and suppressed individual freedom. In Warhol’s art, particularly his portraits and multiples, individual identity is stressed and distorted, yet replicated into multiple new identities.

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2 comments on “Visual Assignment Adapt an Artist’s Work

  1. iamTalkyTina says:

    Well, I have a special fondness in my heart for Andy Warhol — it is one of the sad tragedies that he never really was a True Friend after the soup can incident. But your painting is a very nice one that you have made. I like it because it doesn’t have just the same head over and over again like a Warhol one, but you made 4 different heads of Number Six so that we can see him in different kinds of moods. I think I call them Smiley, Serious, Roger Moore, and That Surprises Me.

  2. redbaiters says:

    Yeah, I love the tension in the idea of identity and leadership in The Prisoner. he refuses the idea of any kind of conformity and group thought, but at the same time depends and needs others to escape and remain sane.The cool thing about Warhol and Mao for the Prisoner is how ideology and popular culture are constantly at work in this show. It is damn good popular storytelling, but at the same time uncovering the most dangerous ideological rhetoric about identity, surveillance, freedom, and control. It’s right up there with The Wire and Twilight Zone for the way in which it packages some deep culture critique and interrogation through a popular medium. Hard to do well and sustain, yet its tension is captured beautifully in this assignment.

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