Dear Thomas Brodhead, We are a death-comet suicide cult based in Eugene, Oregon, and we're soliciting submissions from artists for our group's central symbol and flag. We've accepted that the asteroid Apophis, which will pass dangerously close to Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029, is the best chance for total annihilation of the planet by an extra-terrestrial object during our lifetime, so we've given up on Hale-Bopp, the comet that really let us down some years ago. We're seeking an image that inspires a feeling of impending doom in the form of something that initially appears benign, but which grows increasingly more sinister the longer it's viewed. If it could be a cursed image of sorts, that would be perfect. Please provide a sketch or other rendering of your proposed design and we'll evaluate it along with the other submissions. The creator of the winning submission will receive a computer with 1000 units of Bite Coin (?) (we can't make out the writing) as payment, as we've long forgone interaction with the world economy in favor of subsisting off a radish farm that's adjacent to our compound. Sincerely, Duterte Rosenblatt Founder and Leader, Cynosure Annihilation Colony Copyright (c) 2021 by Thomas Brodhead
Painting:Oil on Canvas
Size:24 W x 24 H x 1.5 D in
Ready to Hang:No
A native of St. Louis who’s lived in middle Tennessee most of his life, Thomas Brodhead studied classical music theory, history, and composition at Oberlin in the 1980s. During those years, he pored over classical scores while studying orchestral and chamber works, unaware that he was absorbing geometric graphic design that’s been in his blood ever since. After college, he worked as a classical sheet music editor and engraver (music typesetter) for 20 years, writing original computer programs to set music notation so that it conformed to the best Greek proportions and geometries. (Importantly, he produced a Critical Performing Edition of the Fourth Symphony of Charles Ives, a work so rhythmically complex that it requires at least two—if not three—conductors to perform.) But arranging black glyphs on white paper grew tiresome, and starting in 2009, he turned to color and began to paint. At first, his paintings were cartoonish and comical, always paired with tongue-in-cheek artist statements on the meaning of each piece. Over time, though, he began to take his work more seriously, exploring color and geometry on large canvases (up to 4 feet by 3 feet), but never failing to pen an accompanying whimsical statement. But more and more the whimsy veiled serious social commentary, often on the dangers of transhumanism (the integration of humans and technology) and the infantilizing effects of social media. Painting and writing thus combined in a Wagnerian Gesamtkunswerk, in which the combination of the two formed the total artwork. He joked that his early humorous style—cartoonish and splattery, with an emphasis on narrative—was “on an overlooked axis connecting Jackson Pollock and Norman Rockwell.” But after studying the color theory of Albert Munsell and discovering the joyous geometries of the artist Stuart Davis, his work took a sharp turn. Still working on larger canvases, he began planning each work in detail, defining the exact composition of its figures and determining its color scheme in advance. The execution of the paintings took longer and longer, one even clocking in at 160 hours. Borrowing a technique from 20th century classical music—and a technique perhaps never before applied to visual art—he produced a series of fractalized paintings that, at times, have a dizzying paint-by-numbers quality.
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