Today I finished Police Officers Examining the Mountaineering Ice Ax Used to Assassinate the Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky near Mexico City in 1940. I didn’t keep track of when I started but I think it took about a month to finish, which is pretty fast. When all was said and done I painted 2832 half inch squares. It should have been 2880 but the panel that I made wasn’t quite wide enough so I compensated by elongating the width of some of the columns and shortening the amount of pixels from 60 to 59 across the width of the painting. Luckily I caught this glitch about a third of the way through and shortened the original reference photo by one pixel before reeking havoc on the composition. In the end I made a few changes to the painting that were different from the photo so that it would look a little better in its final form. First of all I darkened the highlights on the faces of the figure on the right and the policeman on the left; the camera flash caused distracting bright white areas. I did the same thing to the figure second from the left which pushed him a little farther into the background. I took out a black square from under the left side of the ax, which was caused by the jacket of the man behind it, in order to give the ax blade more definition. I did the same thing on the right ax blade but this time I put in some black squares to give it definition. To do this properly, I photoshopped the original photo that I used, reduced the resolution, allowing the computer to reconfigure the pixels, and then made the necessary changes on the canvas. The last thing I did was to take out a white area at the bottom right of the policeman’s jacket and also blacked in part of his jacket on the top right to make it smooth.
I’m planning on doing another pixel painting sometime soon; something that deals with the atomic bomb. I already have 2 canvas/panels ready to go but the sizes are a little off I think so they may not be usable for this. I’m supposed to be participating in a show in The Hague sometime next year that deals with the theme Ghost Modernism, and thought that the pixel paintings would be really appropriate. They all deal with the advancements of technology in the last century and its relationship, either directly or as a subtext, to the “spectacle” of violence as seen through the photograph as media. The themes that are addressed in these paintings fall right in line with the progression of Modernism and its inevitable catastrophic failure.