American filmmaker, John Waters, once wrote: «To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. If someone vomits while watching one of my films, it’s like getting a standing ovation. But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste» (Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste, 1981). That’s exactly the first thing we thought when we saw the first teaser for ‘The Butcher Kings’ art show by Alex Pardee and Skinner at Gallery 1988. We laughed a lot. Something about it immediately reminded us of the weird scenes juxtaposing comedy and surrealistic imagery from Pink Flamingos, Polyester and Harmony Korine’ s Trash Humpers. And guess what? Love at first sight. The two artists have been living, painting and drawing together for almost 5 weeks, incessantly working on over 80 original pieces (all priced between $300 – $1,000) that subvert and overturn common pop culture by exaggerating it to highly humorous and indecent proportions. Adam Green, Director of Hatchet, Frozen & Holliston, commented on the exhibition:“I was offended. After viewing Pardee and Skinner’s “The Butcher Kings” I swallowed half a bottle of cough syrup and slammed my dick in a window repeatedly. I highly recommend seeing this exhibit while you can”. Well then, aren’t you curious to find out more about the show? Prepare yourself for the worst. Get a peek inside.
First image credit: Alex Pardee “Kool Irony”, acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches
Skinner “Fab five Freddy”, acrylic on wood, 9×12 inches
Alex Pardee “JuggaLobot”, acrylic on wood, 9 x 12 inches
THE BUTCHER KINGS. Mission statement from Alex Pardee:
When Skinner and I met in the late 90′s, the Internet hadn’t yet been integrated as a common marketing tool for artists and musicians, and the actual outlets that WERE available for us to spread our imagination and artwork out to were limited to friends, family, schools, the local comic shops and the occasional small cafe-galleries and musical acts that catered toward non-traditional artwork. The bi-product of being undeniably driven by the passion to create without having outlets for either critiques OR validations, however, was that we both created our artwork strictly for ourselves and to make US happy. Over the course of the last decade, as the Internet has become a more common and extremely useful tool in all aspects of art appreciation, execution, networking, and entrepreneurism, Skinner and I have attempted to adapt our thinking and artistic approaches in conjunction with this accelerated technology, but on numerous occasions we have also caught ourselves falling victim to this new widespread accessibility to our artwork.
The Internet provides such a rapid firing of both criticism and praise that, over the course of the last few years, has made both Skinner and I almost TOO aware of what people will like or dislike when our work is displayed publicly, causing us to recently questions just who we are no creating art for. Are our imaginations subconsciously aware more so now of what others will think about our art? Are we now being secretly driven to create something that more people can “relate” to in hopes that we will in turn get more Twitter followers and more Facebook likes and somehow transcribe that invisible validation to more monetary success? In short, Skinner and I both realized that, for whatever reasons, we were taking ourselves too seriously.
Well, f*ck that.
We missed creating art with the sole purpose of making ourselves smile and laugh. We missed no caring if we “lose a follower” by offending someone with a drawing of a demonic dick if that dick was fun to draw. And trust us, dicks are fun to draw. And they are hilarious.
So in an attempt to re-unite our fearlessness, and to simply have fun using our separate memories and inspirations as our tools, Skinner and I present to you, “THE BUTCHER KINGS.”
Using existing pop culture icons that we adore, and mutually drawing inspiration from various sources including Gary Larsen’s ‘The Far Side’, Jack Kirby, Wheel of Fortune, Carrot Top, Filmation Cartoons, Robot Chicken & Aqua Teen Hunger Force, we imagined what would happen if all of a sudden the memories of every pop culture property has begun to be torn apart by an unknown force and, in order to save the memories from total eradication, had to be gathered and reassembled by someone who was goofy, cynical, socially inept and slight insane. That person…is us.
“The Butcher Kings” Art Show by Alex Pardee and Skinner will be on display at Gallery 1988 on Melrose (7020 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038) until Oct 29. Some of the artworks are still available to purchase online through Gallery 1988. Find out more pieces from the gallery HERE.