What strikes me about this piece of art (and that IS what it is). Is how Grandmother hijacked a piece of pop culture and made it her own. Andy Warhol couldn't have created a more powerful statement. This quilt also represents a couple recurring themes in my own life. As I was sleeping tucked in under my Dukes of Hazzard quilt in that single wide trailer in the wilds of West Virginia with my little brother puking beef stew from the top bunk (yes that happened once), this stuff just seeped into my mind....and into my bones. In my painting about this quilt, I called it imprinting like a baby duck. In many ways can distill most of my life's path right back to this quilt.
First of all, most of my art LOOKS like the imagery in this quilt. It's something I hadn't realized until Grandmother passed. Her artwork and her style of creating that artwork has had a profound influence on my own art creation. I have always used black outlines even though many times I have been warned not to lest my art look childish, unrefined, or illustrative. It has taken me many years to fully get past those negative remarks by the way. My artwork has always had a naïve quality to it even when I try to refine it as much as my talent allows. I have always been drawn to bright colors and high contrast. All of these attributes are present in my Grandmother's quilt.
My entire life has revolved around car culture in some form or another. When I played as a child, I played with my hotwheels cars more often than anything else. I always dreamed of living in a junk yard so I could build my own cars. I had a Dukes of Hazzard barn playset that I used for my pretend house. I'd fill the barn with cars and I'd set up a junk yard outside of it with hotwheels cars. After I grew to adulthood, I built a hot rod and started making Kustom Kulture hot rod art. I essentially lived above a garage and built cars from my small junkyard (hey, I did have 9 cars at one time). I never really aspired to much more than living like the Dukeboys....and why not? They had a great life. Too bad it's just so damn difficult to live like that in the real world.
But that's the power of television and pop culture. It infects a person's life and changes one's head. I can remember what I was doing when the first episode of the Dukes of Hazzard aired. That's how ingrained that show was into my life and the lives of my family. My great grandfather had a photo of Daisy Duke hanging in his kitchen. So is that a good thing or a bad thing? When I look at this quilt, I don't see a bad thing. I just see what is, and more than that I see my grandmother's hands creating a powerful piece of artwork. I see a corporate merchandising empire (the impersonal mass media) subverted and made personal. The Dukes of Hazzard, the car culture and the beautifully naïve style of this quilt has all become part of the fabric of my life............YES PUN INTENDED!
Hope you dig looking at these pics.