There was a competition that I entered this week, to create an artwork inspired by the Great Gatsby. No images or stills from the new movie could be used.
I decided to do a mixed media collage on a canvas. I had a lot of 1920s and vintage images that were suitable, and I printed up some of my favourite quotes in 1920s inspired fonts.
Size: 16inch x 16 inch mixed media canvas
(acrylic, ink, stencilling, stamping, crochet, with paper and metal embellishments, on canvas)
The Great Gatsby is one of my all-time favourite novels, since I first read it in high school. I studied it again at university as part of the 20th century modernist movement, and I am a huge fan of Fitzgerald’s work. While I enjoy other authors of the Lost Generation, for me Fitzgerald is the standout as the voice of the Jazz Age, and his popularity and longevity is a testament to this.
My inspiration was how The Great Gatsby looks at the concept of the American Dream, and how, for most people, it is either unattainable, or only attainable through deception and betraying ideals. In order to recreate the past he wanted with Daisy, Gatsby got involved with organised crime figures, but in doing so tainted the dream he was trying to attain. Meanwhile Daisy was not actually worth the efforts he was going to in order to win her.
I have selected just a few images. One of Gatsby as the self invented Well Groomed Man, finally attaining the vision he had created of himself as a teenager. The couple are Tom and Daisy, the careless people who smash up the lives of others. The accessories in the corners are fripperies that Daisy and Jordan would carry – gloves, bags, beads, fans. Perhaps even the pearls that Daisy tried to drunkenly give back on her wedding day. And over looking all of them are the blue eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, as they go about their illicit affairs, illegal business, and the emptiness of their lives.
I have selected the colour palette carefully. Although Daisy and Jordan are described as being predominently in white, I have chosen an aged version as I want this to look old. Similarly the red is faded, especially the splatters on the lace doily as I want it to look like bloodstains from the shooting. The third colour is blue, as it is used so much to describe Gatsby and his parties. The only accent of green is used for highlighting the green light on the dock. The quotes I have used emphasise colour and movement, or key moments in the text for me. I am looking forward to seeing how they are depicted in the movie.