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May 6, 2016

While teaching conceptual illustration at our local art college I was asked one question more than any other: Where do your ideas come from? As an illustrator, I enjoyed problem solving almost as much as painting. If an art director had a problem, I was paid to solve it—visually. Perhaps the text in a layout was boring and in need of a punch to keep readers interested, or the writer was dealing with complex issues requiring a visual to help readers understand the concept.


When my students were lacking in inspiration I suggested they create a parody, defined by Webster as


an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect:


Today, the computer makes it easy to create a parody. Manipulation of digital imagery is everywhere on the Internet, but back when I maintained an illustration studio these images were still hand painted. Here’s one I created for an article about people who treat their pets like royalty. The source was Hans Holbein’s portrait of Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, here altered to Anne of Claws.




Holbein's Anne of Cleves




My Version


This one is more topical and superimposes presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Ghirlandaio’s famous painting Portrait of an Old Man and his Grandson. Bernie shares the unsightly carbuncle on grandpa’s nose, yet Bernie holds this youngster’s attention much as Bernie has captivated the youth of America.




Ghirlandaio's Portrait of an Old Man and His Grandson





Parody Borrowed from the Internet




Can you guess the source of these parodies? The answers are at the end.
































#1 Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night (Summoning Batman)


#2 Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black #1(aka Whistler’s Mother on i-Phone)


#3 Rembrandt Self-Portrait (Homer Simpson)


#4 Gainsborough’s Blue Boy (As a crime fighting super hero)


#5 Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (Here taking a selfie)


#6 Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (altered for Islamic taste)


#7 Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory (Melting clocks changed to cookies)




I bet you can come up with some creative ways to poke fun at famous paintings.




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You sure have had an interesting life! Have a super weekend!
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on May 6, 2016
I like the Cookie Monster one.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 6, 2016
These are great and brightened my gray rainy day!! I could not guess #6, although I should have! All the rest I finally knew.
By: Tabor on May 6, 2016
Hah! These were very fun! Knew them all- my favorite is the selfie! Now I am going to go through my History of Art book to see if I can come up with some goodies! Have a great weekend!
By: Kathe W. on May 6, 2016
Great picture of Bernie Sanders. Maybe it will go in the White House.
By: Tom Sightings on May 6, 2016
You are a very clever man!!
By: fishducky on May 6, 2016
Hilarious! I love Anne of Claws and Girl with a Pearl Earring taking a selfie. You have some of my favorite paintings. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on May 6, 2016
Fun stuff! And no, i couldn't come up with a parody like that to save my skin.
By: messymimi on May 6, 2016
If you don't mind, kindly superimpose my face in place of the kid in Bernie's picture. Thank you, Stephen. PS Wonderful artwork. Happy weekend.
By: Robyn Engel on May 6, 2016
I enjoyed Anne of Claws quite a bit, and the rest of the parodies were awesome. Thanks for sharing, Stephen.
By: Mr. Shife on May 6, 2016
I knew all but the Rembrandt self-portrait, though not by artist or name. Does that count?
By: Val on May 6, 2016
I love parody--even with pictures and had to laugh and these. Thanks for sharing.
By: Sage on May 6, 2016
I recognized a few of them, but couldn't name the painting and/or the artist in most cases. LOL at the selfie parody!
By: Pixel Peeper on May 6, 2016
The cookie monster one is brilliant, and I love yours too. I've seen most of these but a few I hadn't, so thanks for sharing!
By: LL Cool Joe on May 7, 2016
By: Ellen Abbott on May 7, 2016
Got some, should have gotten more when I saw the answers. Loved the selfie. You are an original Stephen.
By: Arkansas Patti on May 7, 2016
I got the last three! :-) Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on May 7, 2016
Can I say they are brilliant! I love these parodies and I can't choose a well done...and I did know all of them...I'm patting myself on my back
By: Birgit on May 7, 2016
I liked #6 the best. All good, but #6 gets my vote.
By: cranky on May 8, 2016
Since Starry Night is my most favorite painting (would love to see it FOR REAL, but my print will have to do, for now), I caught the Bat Signal parody even in the little photo at the start! And I am surprised at how many I recognized, albeit I didn't know all the proper names for... Sorry, art classes were a few decad- er, years ago... Cat
By: Cat on May 8, 2016
PS, I would LOVE to get a copy of Anne of Claws! Cat
By: Cat on May 8, 2016
These are wonderful! You did a great job on the brown velvet in the Anne of Claws painting. The ones with the Bat-signal and Robin made me laugh. The selfie ones were particularly clever. Awesome! :-D
By: Lexa Cain on May 9, 2016

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