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Tie Dye Paintings

Dwayne Coleman
Tie Dye Paintings.
These Tie Dye paintings with bold text evolve from my interest in trends, and subcultures that become out of date and eventually are recycled into ironic means. Examples of this is Tie Dye and words such as ‘naff, ‘lame’, ‘rad’, etcetera.
To form these paintings, the kitsch, the uncool, and the out-of-fashion formed the foundation, which was under-laying throughout the process. Deciding this was important because my theory of irony, being recycled highly involved cool and uncool trends. I chose tie-dye as an ambassador for the kitsch. The pattern can be beautiful at times and has substance trailing from the periods from which it evolved. Compared to the impact tie-dye had in the late 1960’s, tie-dye is a stale trend. This made it my prime choice of style to use, plus I have a previous relationship with the trend and dying process. A corresponding reason is that tie-dye and the words never become extinct and instead become reincarnated - Reincarnated into socially unacceptable themes that are ironic to use/wear.
These paintings investigate the idea of ‘Post Irony’, that suggests that irony is in-fact dead. I find this intriguing, as it is part of British culture. As a nation we are known to use sarcasm and irony quite often. To use irony, is like using a façade, which shields any reaction that may come our way. With irony being ‘dead’, there is no need to hide what you like if it is not ‘cool’. For example wearing a kitsch item of clothing (e.g. tie dye), as an ironic joke or saying the word ‘naff’ sarcastically is unacceptable in the eye of post irony. Instead doing these things because you like them is acceptable. The sarcastic/ironic themes in my paintings are really a protest for expressing yourself with no façade.
Post-ironic adjective: meaning "after irony". Modern style of art or fashion that follows a phase that was ironic. Being sincere or earnest as opposed to flippant and sarcastic.
The words in the paintings are inspired by words a father, uncle or granddad would say. As these relatives are out-of-touch with new trends and young persons colloquial terms, its a common fact they used words that are out of date that wouldn’t be acceptable to use in conversations between young people - Unless they are being used ironically. The goal was to take the words and put them in an ironic context then suggest that it should be acceptable to use.
Dying my canvas before anything else fed my need to create ‘alternative’ paintings. Exploring new techniques and new materials have been on going in my previous paintings, there is no change in these. Much like Angela De La Cruz, I want to push the boundaries of painting and use unexploited materials e.g. Dye and bleach.
Even though my paintings are aesthetically based around tie dye, tie dye is there to uphold my main attraction – Ironic Statements. For irony to shine trough I had to collaborate the words and the tie dye. I made the paintings in a straightforward manor (block text, centred, and layered on a tie dye background) so that the paintings became quite blunt and straight-to-the point. Alternatively, it does not matter if the irony is initially obvious or not.
 Ed Ruscha, inspired text on the paintings aesthetically via his book ‘They called her Styrene’. He predominantly uses a bold text called Octin College Free. I decide to use a text called Ariel, which is similar to his but more plain and bold. I avoided any fanciness that could distract the viewer and take away the meaning of the words. (Tie Dye is taking care of the ‘fanciness’). In Ruscha’s work, the text is the first thing you see. This is what I wanted in my paintings – Firstly, the text, secondly the Tie-dye.
There are many ways of displaying these canvases and still be as affective, e.g. draping and pinned. Even though these possibilities were present, the idea of stretching them appealed to me because traditionally paintings have been stretched over bars. Although, the paintings are an effort to aid evolution of painting, the substance of painting has to be there. Them being viewed as paintings, not sculptures or anything else is important to me.
Tie-dye has a history in death and renewal. Forming in 500AD in Southern America and 600AD in Japan, this ‘style’ was used to depict different tribes, kingdoms, and roles. Even back then it was used to divide cultures. Much like now, trends divided people. I wanted to use the idea of trends because it is more abundant now then it ever has been. It is a common factor in society splitting and dividing us in to subcultures constantly. Emerging in the 1960’s, tie-dye was used by young people exploring their individuality. During the 1960’s and since then, tie-dye has always been in a ‘scene’ and had association with minority groups. Tie-dye has re-emerge as a style, and as a style it dominated my minority group (skateboarding), this is why I have a relationship with it and perfect reason/ sense of necessitate to incorporate it into my work.

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