Also available in an exclusive edition of Giclée fine art pigment prints.
There are three main influences in this painting. Socialist realism, animation (my childhood and youth coming on strong) and a bit of Max Beckmann, a painter I’ve admired for years. The original inspiration was a painting showing an idealised Stalin in the front. The three characters in that painting are on a roof (I think) carrying a log, with an onion-domed Orthodox church in the lower left background and a chimney behind them. I started with that idea, then thought of changing the scene to a missile site.
The title ‘Unity Through Diversity’ refers not only to the idea of different people working for the same cause, but also to the three different animation studios each character comes from. Starting from the left, Elmer Fudd from Warner Brothers, Fred Flintstone from Hanna – Barbera and Popeye from Fleischer Studios. I found that there were lots of interesting challenges. For example, each character is stylised differently and it took me quite a while to reconcile that with maintaining a holistic vision in the painting. One of the solutions was to make the characters’ heads smaller, in proportion to their bodies. Another, going back to Max Beckmann, was to try to paint the hands in a more expressionistic style, as opposed to sticking with four-fingered cartoon hands.