There is a whole set of these 18th c French prints of coiffures and adornments in my "Art Scans & Downloads" folder, but I neglected to make note of where they came from. Shame on me. Yet, isn't that a nice thing about altered art? We find vintage images, manipulate them, transform them, make them our own. Who can gainsay us? Well, perhaps many. I always draw the line at using something that clearly is someone else's art--unless they're 200 years dead--much as I wish I could lend its magic to my work. Itkupilli and Lisa Vollrath (to name a couple of my faves) release a whole lot of scrumptious stuff for appropriation/alteration, as do many other online altered art divas, for which we are all grateful (perhaps someday I'll give that a try myself?) So forgive me if I often neglect to give credit for the images I use, for, in truth, I am a collector of images, printed as well as digital, from many years back, and obviously I cannot keep track of it all!
"Vanitas", pictures that remind of inescapable death and also manage to scold some segment of the population for indulging in woefully superficial and temporal pursuits--trendy fashion, hairdos, musicians, etc., are a time-honored, but often neglected, genre in art. Maybe started by peevish people who didn't jump on the bandwagon in time? Anyway, these particular French pictures did not start out as Vanitas, but let's face it--any woman who would let someone turn her hair into a posh resort for at least half a dozen gnomes, complete with awnings and flowers, deserves to go down in flaming derision. What were they thinking?? Of course, it's also possible that the original pictures are satires, spoofing the trend for over-the-top hairdos but not, let us hope, depicting actual 'dos.
So I decided to nestle some awfully sweet little skulls in their wiggy nests and create some absurdist art of my own. Why ever not? My mother has often said a quote, which is both pointed and poignant:
"What you are, I once was. What I am, you will become."
A memento mori if ever there was one. Good night, may we all wake up tomorrow.