My Hollywood Tribe series is based on an evolution in my thinking and observations that people from all cultures around the world have throughout recorded history painted their faces and bodies in an effort to look more alluring or fierce or to denote social or religious status.
Whether for the purpose of reproduction and protection, or to frighten off their enemies, or simply as a matter of social convention. Dress and make-up continues to remain in high demand even among indigenous people still living off the grid. Perhaps even more so among such populations.
I’ll delve into my motivation for creating this work more thoroughly in the next section below. I was inspired by images of these primitive societies to find universal similarities between those people living seemingly less complicated lives in one small area of the planet as compared to the humongous industrial societies we experience both firsthand as well as through movies, TV and the internet.
I haven’t posted many important works relating to this area as I’ll need to look back through my files to see where their images have been archived. The Hollywood Tribe series was a key component of many exhibitions in Southern California and some images have found their way into private collections as well as in print. As you look through these first 3-D paper sculptures see if you can pick out the similarities between certain film stars and these masks.
In addition to the 3D work on enamel paper I've added some imagery that is related only in that my thought process went from primitive masks to contemporary costumes and then on to influence my drawings in general.
Origins of the Hollywood Tribe series
Years back I came across a big book of photographs of indigenous tribesmen still living free and unspoiled in small rural villages across Africa. These villages were operating as they had for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years before the evolution of our modern civilization. The works that follow are some of the drawings I did from that book in one sitting.
I was completely taken by the way these people dressed with such striking feathered headdresses and necklaces made from animal teeth and bone and whatever else that was derived entirely from their daily environment. These were the authentic dress of people who are by now likely wearing bluejeans and Polo shirts, who knows? The world has shrunk quite a bit since then. But these drawings are what started me on my path to the creating what I call my Hollywood Tribe series.
It was just one thing leading to another and I was seeing modern society in these people's unspoiled notion of masculine strength and virility, and what must be in their eyes the highest order of beauty and elegance in adornment. I imagine this was the the way one ought to dress for whatever the special occasion was that moved them to make the effort to wear everything of importance they owned and show it all off to each other in their own tiny world.
Do not think that these drawings were in any way meant to poke fun or belittle their costumes. Quite the opposite. I thought they were fantastic and inspiring enough to influence how I began to see our own culture and and convention and how dull and uninteresting we've become in this economic franchise that is America. I have no real titles for these drawings and thus offered a few remarks in their place. They are lightly written with the greatest respect for the creativity and power I felt from seeing their images in a book.
One other thing: these eight images were selected and published as note cards (I will post them below in the next few days).