Buff Monster exhibition fuses fantasy and horror
Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm in Lifestyle
Framed by a pink sky with tufts of dark pink clouds, a pink ice cream scoop with a single eye, a cone for a lower body and gray shoes stands aghast. Dark pink blood gushes from its head as a flying green creature with pink wings sinks its teeth into what could be seen as the cyclops-ice-cream-scoopâs head. Behind these two figures, a smaller flying creature drips with the remains of its latest victim who stands nearby with a white spot at the top of his head. A third figure sits on a giant scoop of ice cream and screams as another winged creature heads gleefully toward him.
Though it sounds like a scene out of a fantastical horror movie or some disturbed little kidâs mind, this scene actually plays out as an acrylic work on wood. âBirth of a Zombie,â â one of many works in artist Buff Monsterâs current show, Legend of the Pink Cherry -â epitomizes the artistâs playful-yet-sinister style.
A seasoned artist who started placing posters around the streets of Los Angeles, Buff Monsterâs acrylic-on-wood pieces can cause viewers to either cringe or laugh. The USC alumnusâ current show at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City allows visitors to take a journey in a cotton-candy-colored world of violence, danger and adorable ice-cream creatures that could make almost any art lover melt.
The bottom floor of the show continues with the pattern of gore and war-like scenes in a group of pieces that displays not only Buff Monsterâs artistic dexterity, but also his complex creativity in rendering fantastical, vivid scenes. Inspired by Renaissance paintings, the works display the artistâs love of the color pink and ability to contrast cutesy creatures and precarious situations.
âThe Triumph of Deathâ shows another poor creature running and screaming while his dead companion lies near him. A skeletal figure armed with arrows navigates an evil flying fiend up above. The piece showcases one very important facet of Buff Monsterâs work â even when the composition is nearly entirely pink, there is variety. The landscape in the background of this piece features more ice cream scoops and even a cherry: Different shades of pink create complexity and three-dimensionality. Even the smallest of scoops possess their own texture.
Most of the pieces depict war-like, fantastical scenes, but âThe Demon Tamerâ simply shows a little cone figure petting a winged evil baby. The portrait has a Renaissance feel, with its simple rendering of a figure filling the whole frame. It resembles the image of any Renaissance man that might have asked to have his figure painted for his wall â except this one is dripping pink ice cream.
No matter the subject matter, all the pieces share Buff Monsterâs attention to detail and flawless painting skills. The show marks the artistâs first time working with airbrush, and the technique effectively gives the pieces a sheen that makes them pop even more.
The exhibition continues upstairs in a slightly different vein, featuring a group of five-inch by seven-inch paintings Buff Monster collectively titled âThe Melty Misfits.â The 60 works act as trading cards and came to fruition because of Buff Monsterâs love for Garbage Pail Kid cards.
Impressively, each card contains the same amount of attention as the artistâs larger works. The pink color scheme continues and the same ice cream creatures take on a variety of emotions. The upstairs portion also includes studies of a selection of Buff Monsterâs pieces to give the viewer a sneak peek at the artistâs creative process.
Equal parts fun, horror, fantasy and something uncategorizable and uniquely Buff Monster, the pieces in Legend of the Pink Cherry make a case for both the artistâs talent and the possibilities for art-making. Whether on a wood canvas or the small dimensions of a trading card, the artistâs works blend familiar scenes in art history with a unique sense of humor. Hopefully, no scoops of ice cream were hurt in the process.