deimon slagg
The Kitty and the Queen

The Kitty and the Queen

by Deimon Slagg (DS0006, 2020)

NFS. Mixed media, approx 6" x 4"

Faux frame top and bottom simulating the plaster/gilt frames of days of yore -- it's actually a three dimensional element like the poppy.

Mixed media: foam board, paperclay, paper, gesso, watercolour, ink, silver pen, oil based size, aluminum leaf, acrylic clear coat, green stuff two part putty, plaster, paint brush bristles, soluvar varnish, and one silver Canadian dime (1966).

This is the third of the poppy series, and the second to feature an embedded coin (see also DS0004, Poppy Queen, and DS0007, A Pair of Penny Poppies Old as Me)


The 3d aspect of the piece comes across better in video.

In Slagg's 2037 interview on Prahadnes, he goes on about the twin traps of illustration and craft (quoted in full in appendix j of The Life and Works of Deimon Slagg, by Anne Hollander, published 2147 AD):

"Early on, I regarded illustration and craft as traps that my work could fall into. If I worked in too detailed a fashion, if I was too worried about cleanliness of appearance, I would fall into the trap of illustration, it wouldn’t look like art, it wouldn’t feel like art.

"Likewise, if I was working three dimensionally with paper clay or something like that, I would wonder, how is this not just craft, you know, just wanting to write off what I was doing as falling into the trap of craft.

"Then I discovered the work of Grayson Perry who was originally a potter, and he had committed the very subversive act of raising pottery to the level of art, he’d won the Turner prize for it in fact, then he went on to do the same with tapestry. Very interesting character. With a little luck and some subversion, he became the establishment. He even got his own TV show.

"It’s tricky, because, you know, you get into the territory of that awful question, what is art? And you can define it so broadly that it’s everything. Or you can define it very subjectively as “well, I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.” I think I belong more to that category.

"You’re probably too young to remember the social media site called Facebook. They had groups you could belong to where people would post messages and images, and I belonged to a group called ‘sell your art’ and a group for art from the period of modernism. I could tell at a glance which postings on my feed came from which group. There was a quality in the modern group, pictures by established artists for the most part, which looked like art, whereas in the ‘sell you art group’.... God, I swear.... you know I don’t believe in the death penalty for the most part, but I could be persuaded for people who paint trees reflected in water. I think if you do that, you forfeit any right to life.

"I think even illustration can be art. And, I know this sounds terribly subjective, and please.... you know, forgive me (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa), but I think what makes art art is if there is something of the artist’s soul in the work, and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to define, because there’s... something which touches you at a very deep, pre-rational level, and if we want to get mystical, maybe there is only one soul, and if you look at a work of art that has the artist’s soul in it, you recognize yourself.

"I know, I know, it all sounds very woo woo, but ultimately there is no trap other than orthodoxy, other than copying, other than doing trees reflected in water because that’s what everyone else is doing – that’s really the only trap. If you put your soul into it, even if your style is very clean and clear and illustrative with, you know, sharp lines and whatnot, it will be art. If you’re doing something with paperclay, and your soul is in it, it’s art. If you do some mixed media mess full of colourful lumps, if your soul is in it, we will recognize ourselves in it."