While I was binge watching Fringe I became obsessed with the idea of parallel universes and I thought it would be interesting to create a series of paintings that would explore the idea of parallel universes.

The parallel universe exhibit would feature artwork created by myself and 5 alternate reality versions of myself. The alternate versions of Dustin Parker would all have really bizarre backstories and very different approaches to creating artwork. For example, the Dustin Parker from universe 2 lives on an Earth that has been conquered and enslaved by aliens and he paints renaissance style portraits of alien royalty. Dustin Parker from universe 3 creates macaroni portraits of cats. Dustin Parker from universe 4 had his consciousness transferred into a robot and paints cubist still lives. Dustin Parker from universe 5 paints Thomas Kinkade style landscapes and had extensive plastic surgery to look more like George Clooney. You get the idea.

I had a bunch of really ridiculous scenarios floating in my head. I wanted to paint a huge portrait of each alternate Dustin Parker and I wanted the paintings to have a strong narrative element. I wanted to write poems or short stories for each alternate Dustin Parker that would explain their origins and motivations. I wanted the backstories to be extremely detailed. They would have a favorite food and a favorite movie. I would have all of these random facts about them and they would be displayed somehow.

However, I started to think “this is really fucking pretentious and narcissistic and I doubt people want to see this.” So I decided to go in a completely different direction and that lead me to THE MASK BECOMES THE FACE. The parallel universe concept was really about escaping or avoiding who I am both as an artist and as a human being. THE MASK BECOMES THE FACE was my attempt to focus on what defines me as an artist and to embrace my own style or aesthetic.

In retrospect, maybe the concept would be stronger if the subject was a famous artist like Andy Warhol or Pablo Picasso and then you can have some fun rewriting history and exploring all of these crazy what if? scenarios such as “What if Andy Warhol continued to use comic books as source material for his paintings.” or “What if Warhol collaborated with Keith Haring instead of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” Those would be fun ideas to explore and fun paintings to paint. Those are things that could have easily happened. Then the show isn’t this strange form of masturbation and it becomes an exploration of art history and pop culture.

I like to imagine there is a parallel universe where this show happened.

For the moment I don’t want to be Andy Warhol or Universe 7 Dustin Parker or a Basquiat Robot from Dimension Z. I just want to master being Dustin Parker.


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