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The End of the World Part 3 and COVID Art


How old is the end of the world? People love saying the end is near. Y2K. Mayan prophesies. Nostradamus. That guy in Times Square again.


The pandemic has actually quieted doomsday prophets. Maybe we only talk about the end of the world when it’s really far away. During the Cold War, with Ronald Reagan’s finger near the bomb button, many of us went to bed every night wondering if the world would be there in the morning.


My series ROAR is about just that. Waking up and seeing the world is still there.


What would a lion do? Get up, stretch, and ROAR.


BACK TO THE END


Apocalypse forecasts extend as far back as the first millennium after year zero.


They include notable hopeful prophets from ancient Jewish sects, Spanish monks, and French bishops providing definite dates and/or ranges for the end of all things--starting in years 66-70, 793, and 799-806 respectively.


Anyone disregarding this preoccupation for announcing with certainty the timing of our collective demise as the stuff of anonymous crackpots might be surprised to find Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli (1504); Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1600); and infamous explorer (and genocidal maniac) Christopher Columbus (1656) among historical dignitaries who were certain they knew when the world would end.


For every psychopath like Jim Jones (1967) or Charles Manson (1969) there’s a John F. Kennedy who urged Americans to build backyard bomb shelters to protect from nuclear fallout in 1961.


Cotton Mather made his predictions three times: 1697, 1716, and 1736. Whenever he missed the mark, he tried again. He revised. Many of us do this when we’re running late. We’ll be there in a half hour, sorry. You can almost Mather him at the pulpit addressing his congregation: I know I said I’d be there at 8:30… He was never uncertain of if the end was coming, just when.


Onetime Republican Presidential hopeful Pat Robertson tried twice himself (1982 and April 29, 2007).


The one constant in history seems to be people calling for its end.


LION


Rather than focus on the end, my new series ROAR focuses on what comes after the end. What comes at the beginning?


Roar takes its name from the Roaring 20’s. After World War 1 and the Spanish flu, the roaring 20s started. Parties and celebrations; music, dance, drink, Gatsby.


The lion in roar struts and stretches. Stares on, licks its lips. This lion, for what I call the official start of the roaring 20s part 2, has also become an icon for the series as a whole. You’ll find some standalone limited prints and fashion designs in the shop.


I’ve already started collaborating with artists, musicians, and models on upcoming pieces. If you’d like to collaborate on ROAR or other projects, reach out.


If there’s any question about the overpowering symbol of the lion in pop expressionism, take a look at Andy Warhol.


ROARING IN CHORUS


My new series about the start of the end of the world is informed by artists and writers like John Baldessari— who I talked about in the other parts about ROAR—F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Perrotta and Robert frost.


By the way, if you didn’t know— Robert Frost spent significant time in Key West, where I live now. You can even take a peek at the Robert frost cottage. He’s among hundreds of artists and writers from Hemingway to Elizabeth bishop and Judy Blume who’ve been inspired and informed by key West.


I’ll be taking more about the influence of Key West on my work so make sure to subscribe to my blog to never miss a thing.


THE GARDEN OF ROARS


Hieronymus Bosch greatly influences ROAR as well. His garden of earthly delights from 1515 is a warning against lust and shallow pleasures. The hellish landscape reveals a smorgasbord of nudity, devouring, gluttony and decay.


The overall composition of excess is something I share in many of my larger narrative series, including the first ROAR artwork. The clumps of overlapping people and grinning devils party on like the end of the world.


WHAT DO YOU DO WITH BEGINNINGS?


In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the main character says “get busy living or get busy dying”


Unlike the garden of earthly delights, my roar series is an optimistic look at the possibilities of togetherness and celebration. The only major bible reference in ROAR is from Joseph and the many colored coat. The figure here is a prisoner Joseph cares for. The rest of the picture-- the rest of us-- are celebrating and reveling in the multi-colored opulence. In ROAR, and the next era of togetherness, there’s no reason to hide from your obvious glamour.


I’ll be interested to hear more about your plans for the party after the end of the world.


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©2021 by Kurt Cole Eidsvig