Nicholas Juett : 21




Hollywood’s Waste


oil on canvas

77 ½  x 95 ½  inches 

The idea of digging into Tinsel Town began while living and working in Los Angeles.  Now here in Cambridge is a view to La La land!

Mickey Mouse, born in 1927, has a long history as an ambassador of American values. This cheerful anthropomorphic rodent also has a fiercely savage capitalistic aspect to his character, and these two qualities combined provide the market place with a potent symbol that can excite either love or disgust, nausea or wonder. Either way it is a mouse, an American icon.

In this painting I wanted to explore the problems of an ever-expanding Los Angeles, Mickey’s hometown. At that time the United States imported one film for every twenty it exported, and over a five-year period the number of films shot in the state of California doubled. Ninety percent of all television series were made in Los Angeles – who could dispute the power and dominance of LA as the post-modernist capital? But what was the environmental impact? This city produces a lot of waste for landfill.

The actual painting from which I borrowed my landscape composition is by Gustave Courbet, Burial at Ornans (see image below). My historical subject matter relates to Ornans, in novissimo die de terra surrectus sum, and the issue of both city and cultural pollution. During the execution of the Courbet painting a rise in pollution and densely populated urban areas led to the end of certain cultural traditions, especially less hygienic ones such as their archaic burial practices. Here I have echoed those ideas, and instead of a realistic view of a burial scene during the mid 19th century I have replaced the figures in the original painting with trash bags.

This painting was chosen to be shown at The Alternative Museum in New York, and was funded by the great American artist Andro Serano.  During the opening of “Mouse: An American Icon” CNN interviewed artists, I was the lead item and the conclusion to the CNN coverage – nationwide – almost 15 seconds of fame!


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