36 x 24 inches – acrylic and ink on canvas.
Cotton Candy Mud Slide by Blake Brasher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This is a heavily layered composition made using my cream cheese method which involves making and underpainting, smearing a thick medium over the underpainting while it is still partially wet, and manipulating the thick substrate by adding inks and paints, pushing it around with a rubber spatula like tool, and dragging the end of an ink dropper through it to create depressed lines surround by raised edges. In this painting the medium I used to spread over the underpainting is acrylic gloss gel. This is a thick medium that starts out white and dries clear and shiny, so the whole painting has a sort of pink background which comes from the underpainting. In certain areas I’ve scraped away the top layers to reveal the pink underpainting, pushing muddied medium to the side with sweeping gestures.
I’m sitting in Gallery 263 now, gallery sitting. “Cotton Candy Mud Slide” is hanging to my left. A woman just came in and we had a chat. She said this color of pink is especially loaded in our culture. It is the color of barbie dolls and bubble gum and pop cultural femininity but in this painting I have made it masculine. I hadn’t really though of it like that but I think she’s right. In my head I’m mixing Lisa Frank with Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Those guys were full of machismo but were afraid of color. I’m not afraid to say it. I love their work, I’m deeply inspired by it, but it’s a whole lot of browns and dull greens; muddied whites and straight from the can blacks. Of course, a lot of these colors didn’t exist back then. The 1980s hadn’t been invented yet. Human color perception was just barely evolved past the point of being able to tell red apples from green, and even television was black and white.
And maybe I was thinking of that dichotomy when I gave this painting its title. Cotton candy is fluffy, pink, childish, and composed entirely of sugar. A mud slide powerful, destructive, uncontrollable, dirty, and mixes everything together. Cotton candy is feminine, or at least non-masculine neuter like a child but also the sort of thing you can imagine Lady Gaga wrapping herself in (or Katy Perry draping her nude body across a cloud of. A Mud Slide is masculine.
So. Take that my gender studies friends. Tell me: is that interesting? Have I taken back the color pink from Victoria’s Secret sweat pants? Or does looking at this painting make you want to dress up your barbie doll in a pink miniskirt and bomber jacket to get ready for her big date with ken?
Baby pics and detail images below: