The work is a re-imagining of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Whaam!” painting. The original depicted a fighter plane destroying another one in the midst of combat. It also showed what thoughts occurred to the surviving fighter pilot at that instant. A moment of glorious victory.
In this version, I used the same analogy for how an artist feels within the art market and his pursuit of an art “career”. It is always about survival. A fear and anticipation of whether or not you live to paint another day or you would have to rebuild or be lost in obscurity. Whether it’s a show or an auction, the artist’s future is in the hands of another – a gallery, a curator, an auction house and so on. The artist can only do so much, can only put out his best, but the true battle begins when the work leaves the studio.
Am I good enough? Will this sell? How do I keep my integrity? What will I paint next? What does this mean? Who will like this? These questions and a million others plague the artist with every canvas and that in itself is another war.
Same with the thoughts and sighs of momentary relief in Lichtenstein’s “Whaam!”, the word Sold has the same effect to an artist. A temporary alleviation of the fear and dread that comes every single time we put ourselves out there.