Black Helicopter Tryptich
May 8, 2012 Leave a comment
This was a drawing II assignment, and the concept is a sort of dadaist, absurdist joke. (If I recall correctly, the assignment itself involved taking inspiration from Dada.) This thing would be incredibly pretentious if it were meant to be taken seriously, but it isn’t.
I decided to create an assemblage with a surrealistic sci-fi theme. It is also a parody of ‘black helicopter’ conspiracy theories. During the 80’s and 90’s some very foolish people began to claim that black helicopters were engaged in clandestine activities in the midwest, sometimes involving aliens and U.F.O.’s. For this project I decided to make fun of this conjecture by creating a narrative in which the ‘helicopters’ are actually large, aerial animals which only resemble helicopters, and live in large anthill-like warrens in the mountains of the American west.
I wanted to mix illustration with assemblage, so I did several drawings of the helicopter-creatures. I decided to give them a somewhat organic texture, and made the cockpits red. I also added some humorous touches. For instance, the drawings of the helicopters are cut out and mounted on foam core board, with Velcro on the back. There is also Velcro on the display aras of the folded boards, so you can move them around, though there is no reason to do so. There’s a magnifying glass, to examine the drawings up close, but there’s nothing to really see. There is a pen, but the quill is broken and there’s no ink. The parchment on the side with the pen is supposed to be an account of a sighting of one of the creatures that dates from the 1800’s (it’s not a ‘real’ account, I just made it up, and it’s just a few sentences.) The last side is made up of printed excerpts from goofy conspiracy theories.
The metal plates are just visual elements. There’s a good deal of symbolism in this thing, but I can’t explain it all, and all of it is just inside jokes.
Why did I do something this goofy? Well, it was fun to do it, but another reason is that I’ve always been fascinated with conspiracy theories, and why people believe in them. I’m also a skeptic, so I look at this stuff with a critical view, which naturally leads to me satirizing this type of thing.
I’ve always been pretty satisfied with this piece of art. It mixes assemblage, illustration, sculpture, and a number of media. It was a delight to combine all of this in to a single piece.
The boards have a various shapes painted on them in yellow, red, orange, and black. Those colors were chosen just because I thought they complimented the helicopter illustrations, and I think they look nice with the steel/metal elements, while the lighter yellows work with the parchment colors and the exposed parts of the wood. The paint itself is acrylic.
Anyhow, this things was really enjoyable to create.