The painting started life in 1987 as part of a series of paintings on Fabriano paper that sought to combine Classical Renaissance motifs and the emerging graffiti tagging style at that time in the late eighties.
The original plan was to put the paintings out in the urban environment for a while and allow them to be graffed and tagged - in effect to 'naturally' absorb the visual contemporary culture of the time - but as I was only in my second year of my Fine Art degree - and they needed to be outside for a year to be fully 'intervened' with - I decided to tag the paintings myself using a mixture of invented names including one for example "Fake" - which you can see towards the base of the neck as "F*KE".
The title 'Bellini Fellini' is a reference to Giovanni Bellini - the forward-looking Renaissance painter - and Federico Fellini the great 'Futurist' Italian film maker. Both, hugely influential - and culturally revolutionary figures. Bellini in particular, an influence on me - his sensuous use of colour and light in portraits is something I've been trying to capture in my text portraits. I re-discovered the original 'Bellini Fellini' painting in it's original form last year in a family loft - and decided it's battered countenance attested to its 27 year life - and in a way partly fulfilled the original concept - and that now, in 2015 I could bring it's history full circle and add a 21st century motif that would underline the whole idea of the piece: that time passes and culture evolves - but core human elements remain as solid as stone.
The paper painting was stuck onto board using conservation-quality - British Museum accredited - Lascaux 498HV - and restored and sealed using Liquitex UV protective matte varnish.
The Michelangelo-esque head was then picked out with a painterly blue background - and the fluorescent red neon bars were added as a visual reference to 21st century culture - and perhaps even as a reflection of the current trend of 'Post-Analogue Painting'. They are a visual representation of 'The Future' raining down on us - highlighting the fact that with time - there is only forward motion.
Acrylic on Fabriano paper bonded to board and frame.
Size 150cm x 122cm
to view a detail.