Mickey Skull

by | Mar 15, 2021

It’s easy to turn an icon and make a decent image. Often the familiarity of the subject is enough to coast in terms of style, detail, artistic merit. Mickey and Marilyn have been favorites for a while. There is after all the whole “low-brow” art movement, not pioneered, but perhaps best exemplified by Ron English. When viewing an original artwork that incorporates pop culture, or perhaps more accurately, subjects that might be deemed as ‘Modern Iconography’ a certain degree of skepticism should be deployed, because it’s a shortcut that can hide a lack of originality. The question then is whether or not this image feels lazy or underdeveloped. The honest answer is: a bit. Not enough to disqualify it, but there are bits and pieces among the good ideas within the piece that should give a viewer pause.

The main issues within this design are: the guide lines of the face and hands and the drips on the bottom of the figure. The horizontal guidelines on the face are not round enough to suggest a sphere. While these would work, and probably were used to draw the face, if you’re going to leave them in then the artist should choose to refine them in a way that makes them more visually impactful. The Lines on the hands don’t seem like they were used for anything; rather, they seem like they were added to make the guide lines on the face make sense. What would those lines on the hands actually be used for? Yes they both connect to the center of the second finger but that wouldn’t actually help. Lastly there’s the drips at the bottom of the image. It’s difficult to create that ghostly incorporeal appearance without blending, but at the same time one must alway be weary of ‘mind in the gutter’ interpretations of shapes and forms. It takes long enough to notice the flaccid silhouette that the design still works, but it is there.

The decision to elongate the skull and remove the lower mandible was smart. For whatever reason the elongation of form somehow is always ghoulish. The inclusion of the dollar sign may at first seem like low hanging fruit, but there’s something very “Hank Rearden’s cigarettes” that goes past capitalism and enters the desiccation planes of libertarian ideas for some reason, which makes it interesting. The signature button is a nice touch; sometimes you gotta respect cockiness. It does work as a stylistic element within the piece. What the hand gestures mean is hard to say; visually they seem to help in establishing a column going up off the body, and curves the ears going down into a spike; authority and violence by way of corporate hegemony within the artistic field.

Design by: JocBox
Price:  $12.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Grey