Friday, June 10, 2011

Shaping America's Lexicon One Painting at a Time

Help me invent new words! Here's the story:

While growing up, films like The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Vacation, She's Having a Baby, Sixteen Candles, and especially Ferris Bueller's Day Off were a huge influence on me. They helped shape my expectations about life and my teen years. I think the humor and insight in every John Hughes film is timeless. Last March Gallery 1988 paid tribute to the Master of 80's flicks with a group show called The Road to Shermer. I was honored to be a part of it!

So how does an artist come up with concepts for a show like this? Well, it's just about presenting your own ideas, memories, and sense of humor on the subject matter. One thing that always struck me about John's films was the fashions. The styles seemed amplified a bit beyond real-world fashions. I think the clothes really helped convey the characters and make them larger than life. And for me, it all seemed to culminate in their hats. I went with my first thought, which was to paint a catalog page of all the memorable hats from Hughes' films.

Hats By Hughes, Acrylic on wood panel, 15"x20"

Cameron Frye's "bestie"

After this piece was completed, the idea that a newsboy style hat (like the one worn by Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller's Day Off) is actually called a "bestie" stuck with me. I started calling my own newsboys "besties" and maybe its a testament to my ego but I decided other people should call them besties too.

So I wrote a definition and submitted it to I love the idea of John Hughes films, the show at Gallery 1988, and my own painting all coming together to make this new meaning of the word stick! If you love Mr. Hughes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, cool hats, maybe even my artwork, please take a second to click this link and give the definition a thumbs up!

Urban Dictionary: bestie

Then try to use the word in a sentence every day. Perfect!

-Ben Walker

P.S. The Road to Shermer received an amazing amount of press! So now my "Hats" piece has been featured all over, including Vogue Italy's website. Bello!

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