By Kane Laing
Throughout history the birth of new medias and new mediums has transformed the world of art. Perhaps the most transformative medium in history has been the internet. Can anyone with a media platform be an artist? What happens when everyone can have a media platform?
‘Pictures That I Gone and Done’ by Chris (Simpson Artist) is an example of what once would be considered an outsider with a cult following, but with the internet he is now just a niche part of a mainstream media flow that doesn’t exist in the same way outside of cyberspace. Chris (Simpson Artist) produces digital drawings of mainly Simpsons characters, and also celebrities (especially in response to current events). But the images are disturbing, creepy and hilarious. With captions like: “get bent saggy” for Osama Bin Laden, “Yes we didn’t” for Obama, “I love skin, yes I knew” for Shrei and Trei of the Simpsons show.
It is something about combination of eyes, mouths and teeth with these captions that has a unique creepy-hilarious flavour. The captions and text has a distinct language also; his captions are always one long rambling sentence, with an obsession with certain words like idiot and loads, or body parts, or actions such as ‘lying down’. There is something so satisfying about seeing familiar characters or celebrities turned into these beautiful monstrosities with incredibly bizarre dialogue captions that can sometimes seem incredibly innocent. It feels too acutely aware of itself to be 100% genuine, but it doesn’t detract anything for me.
But is it art? How isn’t it art? Within an institutional framework it would probably be considered “outsider art”. But on the internet there is no such thing, I reckon. It’s a level playing field in cyberspace. For this sort of “art” that has been birthed by the internet, there is a link in the works content to its medium. The internet is inherent in what the work is and how it travels, and it may not survive in any other form. Chris (Simpson Artist) originally used facebook as his mode of dissemination but now also uses other avenues such as twitter and his official website where he sells merchandise with his images printed on it. It is a far cry from the Tate modern, but something about it’s humanity, innocence, hilarity and disturbing strangeness that makes it so compelling. As any great art is.
All images are by Chris (Simpson Artist), taken from his facebook page.