- My Life as a Fake
New Old Masters for the Economist
- There's nothing the folks at the Economist like better than a bit of pastiche.
I'd like to think they call on me for these jobs because they feel I have a deep affinity with the Old Masters, but I suspect it's because they know I'm anyone's for a shiny dollar.
Here is a selection of forgeries, beginning with a bogus Lucas Cranach the Elder, and featuring among others a psuedo-Dalí, two ersatz Rousseaus, a sham Millet and a phony Delacroix.
All covers were art-directed by a genuine Graeme James.
- Lucas Cranach probably had more than 36 hours to complete the original, but then he would not have had the benefit of acrylic paint.
- Henri 'le douanier' Rousseau is another favourite. It's actually very satisfying to paint in this decorative style. Almost makes me wish for the return of wallpaper.
This is one of two illustrations I did for Economist covers in a Rousseau-ish style. The other is below.
- Here's a psuedo - Dalí on the subject of Fat Cat salaries.
Studying another painter's style always throws up a few surprises. Dalí filled his shadows with light, which works in much the same way as fill-in flash to give a strange luminosity to his landscapes.
- The lead article of this issue was titled 'The new wars of religion'.
The atmospehere we were after was that of the romantic painters like Delacroix or Géricault. The murky submarine colours of the sky came from this school.
The painting below is a little schizophrenic. The pose is taken from Millet's 'The Sower', but the style owes more to surrealism. I can't remember the thinking behind this one.
- And now for something completely different.
Not quite an old master, but a classic nonetheless. Get your cello out.
- This was a pretty faithful reproduction of the original Jaws poster, but with a stars and stripes swimsuit added to the unsuspecting swimmer.
- This cover was so successful that a reprise was requested a couple of years later, when talk had turned from looming recession to double-dips.
- And last but not least, Communist propoganda posters provide a rich seam of irony as China charges - full tilt and with some accomplishment - into the realm of running-dog capitalism.