Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pop Culture Parody

The famous Uncle Sam poster - James Montgomery Flagg

We have all seen it. The iconic if not pervasive image of of Uncle Sam done by James Montgomery Flagg back in the Golden Age of  Illustration. Some images have a way of forging a permanent place in the consciousness of the American psyche and like Grant Wood's "American Gothic" become the subject of countless parodies and jokes. If you have any doubts on the subject, just click here to see how many versions of Flagg's Uncle Sam motif pop up. As an artist, I have been tempted more than once to base a picture on one of these iconic images. I once even dressed Michaelangelo's David in farmer's overalls and placed him in a chicken coop for an undergraduate illustration assignment.

Fat Uncle Sam- by Greg Newbold 
12" x 14" - acrylic wash over pencil

Currently, I am working on a self generated picture book that will undoubtedly include several such parodies on famous works (but I won't spill the beans on that project quite yet). The one I show today is my own version of Flagg's Uncle Sam done for Eating Well Magazine for an article about how government policy sometimes encourages overeating and poor food choices. I enjoyed taking what Flagg had done and twisting it, yet at the same time trying to be faithful to his technique, right down to trying to replicate his brushwork.

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