Coming Soon: Skandinavia

Starting in February 2018, a new work of art by Will Felix will be released weekly with an accompanying blog on willfelix.com; and the piece will be available for sale online at Saatchi Art. Extra content and features is available to those who signed up on the Will Felix Artsite mailing list.

The second in the K series, Skandinavia will explore the idea of cultural influence: particularly how one can be inspired by other cultures from the point of view of appreciation, without appropriation.

In the 1960’s, western-style movies were all the rage. The attempt at copying their success led to the advent of the “spaghetti western:” cheaper movies made in Italy with lesser known talent. Those movies in turn became blockbusters in their own right: thanks to actors like Clint Eastwood, director Sergio Leone, and the music scoring of Ennio Morricone.

This is an example of what is being explored in “Skandinavia.” The idea of one culture influencing another and creating something novel, yet familiar… seen from a different lens… tasted with different spices.

While the name does suggest a focus on Scandinavian countries (with hommage to Edvard Munch), there will also be influences beyond that, such as the works of German neo-expressionist painter Markus Lüpertz, and American color field painter Helen Frankenthaler.

With much of the ongoing discourse analyzing cultural appropriation, it is important to recognize that one can be influenced and can embrace elements of other cultures without necessarily usurping them. It is also important to acknowledge how aspects of Western (Nordic) culture can influence the African American mindset.

Ideally this series would take place after an extended stay in Northern Europe. However this will be a non-geographic journey, more of dreams and imagination… perhaps it may lead to the real experience later on.

The full sized digital paintings are available on canvas, with only one print of each work available to the public, and one available on demand for galleries and museums.

Smaller sized open edition prints will be available to the public via Saatchi Art.

Chimera II

Chimera II

“Chimera II” – digital giclée canvas, 60″w x 40″h (152.4 x 101.6cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

This piece is a sequel to “Chimera,” which is part of the “one” series from 2009. The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals.

This work was inspired by the Khartoum School: a modernist art movement formed in Sudan in 1960 that sought to develop a new visual vocabulary to reflect the distinctive identity of the newly independent nation.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Africa’s Inside Me

Africa's Inside Me, 2017

“Africa’s Inside Me” – digital giclée canvas, 36″w x 48″h (91.4 x 121.9cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

The title is from a song by the group Arrested Development.

The semi-self portrait, featuring elements from tribal masks, represents the spirit of the Afrika series: the conflict between the aesthetic influences; how they are interpreted in western culture, and the self that is observing while experiencing the effects.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Harambe

Harambe, 2017

“Harambe” – digital giclée canvas, 60″w x 40″h (152.4 x 101.6cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

A name derived a Rita Marley song “Harambe (Working Together for Freedom).” Harambee is a Swahili term for communal labor.

That name was given to a gorilla that became known for being killed after a wandering child fell into Harambe’s zoo habitat.  He has since become somewhat of an internet meme.

Drawing parallels with the precocious human child’s actions leading to the death of an innocent animal in his manufactured environment.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Kalangungu

Kalangungu, 2017

“Kalangungu” – digital giclée canvas, 50″w x 40″h (127 x 101.6cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

The word “kalangungu” is mentioned in a song by recording artist Finley Quaye called Sugu Mugu (Good Vibes) from 1997. It translates to “evil-doer” or “criminal” depending on which Afro-Portuguese area you refer to.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Iconoclast

Iconoclast, 2017

“Iconoclast” – digital giclée canvas, 40″w x 60″h (101.6 x 152.4 cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

A symbolic response to the dismissive slur “Go back to Africa.” The protagonist masked figure (inspired by a mask on display at Virginia Museum of Fine Art) highlights the fact that people did actually return to Africa and formed the nation of Liberia. The result of this is reflected in the tumultuous history of that country.

The mask also symbolizes the American identity placed upon the descendent of Africans, and how any criticism brought forth about their treatment is in turn received as an affront to the predominant cultural totems.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Surulere

Surulere, 2017

“Surulere” – digital giclée canvas, 60″w x 40″h (152.4 x 101.6 cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

The word “Surulere” is yoruba for “patience is profitable. There is a drapery from the Yoruba region in West Africa (parts of Nigeria and Benin) currently at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond. The craftsperson likely was not literate, and inverted the “L” on the piece.

The painting follows that result and that spirit.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Nor Man Lieu Is

“Nor Man Lieu Is” – digital giclée canvas, 50″w x 40″h (127 x 101.6 cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

Dedicated to Norman Lewis (Nor-Man-Lieu-Is), an influential mid 20th century artist who explored abstract expressionism, and African American symbolism.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Shark Island

Shark Island, 2017

“Shark Island” – digital giclée canvas, 60″w x 40″h (152.4 x 101.6 cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

In the late 19th Century, there was a land grab competition in the African continent, and Germany sought to make their colonial imprint in the Namibia region in Southwest Africa. The Herero people revolted against German rule, at one point killing over 100 German settlers. Reinforcements went sent and the Herero were vanquished. Guerrilla warfare ensued, and the German response was to ship the Herero, and the Nama people who also rebelled, to concentration camps. One of the worst was located on Shark Island, off the southern coast.

This coincided with the Eugenics movement in science, and German doctors committed atrocities on the island in their attempts to prove Aryan superiority.

The irony of using barbarity to support a disfavored science is what brought forth this painting.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.

Kiss My Black Ass, You Colonial Parasite

KMBAYCP

“Kiss My Black Ass, You Colonial Parasite” – digital giclée canvas, 40″w x 60″h (101.6 x 152.4 cm), 2017. Part of the “Afrika” series. One original edition available for public sale; and one available for gallery/museum request. See full image at Saatchi Art.

AFRIKA blog

Eschewing all reactionary takes based upon the confrontational title; “KMBAYCP” is meant as an illustration of the frustrations of having a prevailing foreign cultural paradigm looming over another’s social structures, as a legacy of the forces of history; coupled with the condescending nature taken by said prevailing cultural paradigm when challenged about its suffocating influence.

The towering white presence; the black thorn in its side; the blood stained grounds; and an overall sense of emptiness… all symbolic of that feeling.

Archival quality 10-ink printer, Breathing Color® Aqueous canvas. Full sized art is unstretched and rolled in a tube for shipping.