Pop Surrealism - Spring 2014

Page 11

the reviews

PoP SurrealiSm A ge nre O vervi ew By Daniel Anderson if such A thing As pOp-surreAlism exists, it must be worthwhile to define its genre. Pop surrealism is not surrealism strictly, nor even broadly; pop surrealism utilizes the methods of pop art, but with goals similar to surrealism. Its goals are to externalize internal mythological and psychological imagery, and it does this through illustrative, printed, and graffiti-like media. It has only a little in common with 20th-century surrealism and its modernist concerns. Essentially, pop-surrealism is the concerns of the surrealists gone popular—popular in the sense of populist, as the case is in street art, and popular in the sense that it is base, or unconcerned with the higher notions that “fine” art seeks to address. Analyzing real artists who might fit the description of pop“[Pop Surrealism’s] goals are to externalize internal mythological and psychological imagery” surrealist will help us in defining this genre. marc mercado (bottom right) is a Bay Area artist, recently relocated to New Orleans, whose illustrative work is inevitably base, but seems to convey this base-ness with a fervor for detail and depth that brings to mind the over-coated works of Jamie Hewlett and Tank Girl. Of his work, Mercado says: “If some people see my work as either pop or surrealism, that’s fine. But I would say my style is the developmental progression of drawing penis vikings in the back of class for 15 years.” An archetypical deconstruction of Mercado’s work will reveal more than just gross aesthetic, which is a quality indicative of most pop surrealism. In Mercado’s work, anthropomorphic

characters appear with many arms and empty thirdeyes, drinking alcohol or smoking menthols; they bear tattoos, weapons, and Mexican wrestling masks. there is an undeniable street art quality to mercado’s work. Of that influence, he says: “I kept a fanny pack full of spray-paint and goggles for my diabolical altar ego. When life would get too heavy, Dr. Frankencake would strap on the goggles and deface any wall in his path, leaving nothing behind but juice boxes and candy wrappers. Twelve years later, ain’t [no] shit changed but the goggles.” If one can get beyond the surface quality of Mercado’s work, which seems to thrust at the viewer with jagged lines, haphazard