Hair Crimes

I feel bad about all the ladies who are swept up in this FLDS thing, but when you have glorious, unashamedly, monumental HAIR and a mono-brow, you are going to be slapped into a breen, slam-dunk, case closed. Actually, anything with a mono-brow necessitates breening, regardless of the subject or meaning. This is a deeply embedded law of art, going back through the fibers of millions of children and teenagers,who recklessly scribble into public library magazine photos on a daily basis.

But these women are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. It sucks to have a God who makes you marry a smelly old man and submit your kids to statutory rape, doesn’t seem fair. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

Like most people, when I first heard about the FLDS issues, the underage girls being married off in gaggles to old men, I was cheered by the raids on their weird compounds. But as I learned more, and saw the anguish on the mother’s faces as their children were ripped from them en masse, I was not so sure. The government will have its trophies.

What drama! With pastel prairie dresses and improbably high hair, these ladies haunt the courthouse like pioneer Stepford ghosts, wailing for their lost children! The sadness seems deeply specteral! Hairy Dr. Quinn Medicine women, ready to wash Christ’s feet with their tresses! From an art standpoint, the image made me giddy.

But I actually didn’t think of this as a topic for a painting until I glimpsed a polygamist wife sporting a serious mono-brow, very plain and shell-shocked. At that point my arm flung itself across my table, scattering tubes of paint and brushes to make room for my impending breenosity.

This work is clearly influenced by African barbershop sign art. One of my paintings volunteered, begging, me, me, me! So I plucked it out of another project and went to work.
The type is a beauty shop sign for ‘FLDS Coiffeurs, to get him in the mood!” First thing I did was give my subject big hair and a mono-brow. Then I gave her a red dress with a P for polygamy and prisoner(ala the Scarlet Letter). I see her branded by society at large as a kind of reverse adulterer.  In Accra barber shop sign fashion, I’ve made three different hairdos. In the upper right hand corner is a government trophy plaque with a ladies scalp, surrounded by a long braid. Hair falls down onto Christs’ feet, which are poised to be washed. 

To buy this breen, go HERE.

Old Face on the Bald Spot



To bid on this piece, go HERE.

Hair drives this work. First thing that struck me was the subject’s pompadour. So I threw a Lords of Flatbush leather jacket on him, gave him a switchblade and turned him into an urban conflicted rebel bad boy hear-throb bleeding heart liberal.

The breening could have stopped right there, maybe should have. But I got a haircut day before yesterday, and that kind of wormed its way into the painting. Mrs. Breen was going to a fancy hair salon in Newburyport to get her do done and begged me to come along. I agreed to let her sophisticated ‘originally from NYC’ stylist have at my raggedy mop which hadn’t felt scissors in about 5 months. I resolved to abandon all control and let her go wild on my head. Ann picked these pictures of hip rock stars with their modern choppy hair cuts and said “do this” to the stylist.

Well, as usual, in the end, I looked like a banker. “You have to let it grow out, your hair is thinner on the top” the stylist apologized. I knew all too well what she meant. My hairline has steadily marched north for years, hair disappearing and cropping up unwanted in other regions of my body I would prefer to remain hairless. I don’t go in for haircuts too much these days, mostly cause my hair doesn’t seem to grow too fast anymore, and secondly because it is kind of depressing. It often seems like the hair stylist adopts the attitude of a mortician striving to make the top of my corpse head look as normal as possible, rectifying the damage sustained from a horrible scalp-peeling car wreck.

“Look at the back?” the stylist asked, handing me a mirror and spinning the chair for the double reflection. I never really want to look at this view, believing that what I don’t know can’t hurt me. But I did look, and saw pink flesh coming through where the brush has been mowed down. Looking through that shaky double reflection, the mirror slipped through my fingers, bouncing off the floor! “What’s the matter!? Don’t you like it?!” the stylist moaned. No, it’s fine! HOW COULD I EXPLAIN I SAW ABE VIGODA’S FACE ON MY BALD SPOT! And he didn’t look happy! Yikes!

I got home and rubbed my scalp along the edge of my hair line and discovered one more insult. The gel stuff the stylist put on my unaccustomed hair had nurtured a raging single zit! It throbbed and dared me to squeeze, but I couldn’t! It was too close to living hair. I worried that damaging that sensitive area would perhaps negate any chance of a return appearance of hair to that area, currently staked out by a few lonely pubic looking sentinels, whose only hope for company was a sudden breakthrough in hair revitalization technology.

On another subject, it seems the Italians are intrigued by breenishness. First, Vogue Italia, now a huge interview in Brain Twisting, which I believe is an Italian webzine. It’s in Italian though, so unless you capisco Italiano, you’ll have to make up your own translation.