Dough: Homer Simpson Meets Andy Warhol (And Other Thoughts)

Two weeks ago I finally finished my mash up of Homer Simpson with an Andy Warhol dollar sign. And here it is.

Homer Simpson "Dough" silkscreen print

“Dough.” 5-color hand pulled silkscreen print, 18 x 24 inches, 2016.

If you’ve been following my Facebook page you’ll know that I live broadcasted most of the printing process. I also have time lapse video drawing the full size films onto frosted mylar and may make a video of the whole process at some point. Most of the illustration was done with a black oil pastel crayon, with the large blocks of yellow and orange filled in with black ink and a brush.

Why Homer Simpson And What Does It Mean?

I was a bit apprehensive about this piece because if it doesn’t cross a line, it approaches it. Up until now I’ve prided myself on doing original concepts. It can be difficult to be successful doing that because if you look around, that is not what people want. And I enjoy a lot of pop art, but I feel so much of it is too easy by taking advantage of a well known and loved property and putting a twist on it. So if I was going to do this, it had to be for good reason and to make a statement I could stand by.

However, the original statement was not made by me. In one episode of The Simpsons (Episode 244, Season 11, #18) a drunk Homer Simpson says to his kids “I could do a lot of things if I had some money.” To me it perfectly sums up the American obsession for wealth in spite of more important things worth striving towards. At the time I just thought it was another funny Homer Simpson saying, but it has stayed with me over the years. I wonder if the writers were after a quick laugh or a profound statement.

The idea for this print has been marinating a while. When I first started designing it I wanted to maintain the words in the print. One other thing that was important to me was that Homer not have eyes as to appear soulless.

Drunk Homer Version #3

Drunk Homer Version #3, July 2015.

As time went of I forgot about this idea and came back to it. Eventually I decided on conveying the message of those words without the words and it came in the form on Andy Warhol’s Dollar Sign.

Andy Warhol Dollar SIgn

Andy Warhol Dollar Sign. Copyright Andy Warhol’s people. One of these sold for over $5 million.

Andy Warhol did hundreds of these dollar signs in dozens of color combinations. He loved money and exploited his fame and style to get more. He was also a screen printer and pop artist, so who better to steal from to make a screen printed pop art commentary piece on money?

Neither the proportions nor color scheme of my dollar sign are like any one Warhol dollar I have seen. At one point I tried to use the exact outline of one of the more common designs, but I found it didn’t work with how I wanted to blend in Homer’s head. Besides that I felt it was important to add some flourishes of my own.

Up close detail of "Dough".

Up close detail of “Dough”.

What else? I enjoy how this could be interpreted different ways. I’ve heard it said that Matt Groening is going to keep making The Simpsons as long as it continues to make money. This could be a commentary on that, but wasn’t my intent. Maybe it’s a commentary on how we spend our money on cheap entertainment or how I’m selling out as an artist with this print.

Right now there are 73 copies in the regular edition shown above. I printed half a dozen black only copies that I will do in different colors by hand in the future. I also have a dozen or so rejected prints that I may fix/enhance with hand embellishments. Would I love to sell some of these and make some money? Yes. Would I hate myself if I did twenty different print variants at a hundred copies each on foil with metallic inks? Hell yes. It’s a fine line.

Originally I thought the title would be the original quote (“I could do a lot of things if I had some money.”), but I enjoy that “dough” is a eupehmism for money and a homophone for Homer’s famous catchphrase. Perhaps “Dollar Sigh” would have also been appropriate.

In Other News

This past weekend I hosted the first ever Neat & Keen Open Studio. We’re not very old at just over a year of operation so it was mostly friends and family, but some new faces stopped by too. I did a live print demo with this print. I suppose you could consider it a print variant of the Dough print, but these were given freely to those in attendance. Not numbered or anything. Maybe I’ll put a couple up for sale at some point, but if you weren’t here it’s kind of a lie isn’t it?

Neat & Keen Open Studio Homer Simpson Poster

Neat & Keen Open Studio Homer Simpson poster. 2-color silkscreen print, 12 x 18 inches, 2016.

I go in an out of funks from time to time. I made the mistake recently of comparing my career accomplishments with former classmates and coworkers on LinkedIn. But then I pull the last color of a print and I think: This. This is what I want to do. And I am doing it. Maybe in a few years I’ll show up at my 20th high school reunion out of shape, single, and penniless, but I’ll have flat files full of kick ass art with my name on it and no one can take that away from me. Unless you break into my house and steal my art. Why would you do that? It’s not that expensive. Just buy some already from my new Storenvy store.

“Dough” will go on say May 20 at 10:00am CST at NeatKeen.Storenvy.com

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