Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Matrix

The Matrix painted by the Artist
(Xavier) on a doctor's office wall

The Matrix trilogy had a great impact on movie goers all over the world. There was no exception in Trinidad and Tobago. What makes this wall painting odder than most is that it was made for a doctor's office, as the text states. I have to suppose that the doctor was particularly moved by the red pill, blue pill question that came up in the movie.

Most doctor's offices are sober affairs and the surroundings of most offices are equally as sterile. The choice of doing a painting on the way to the office is a very unusual choice. The artist has signed and dated the work, and has come up with his own typography design for the work. He has severely elongated the bodies of the characters inside the frame, and struggles with the dimensions of the agent on the outside of the frame. Even the way the guns are done are not drawn with any reference of the actual thing. In fact the painting is a reminder of the sort of work seen by teenage boys in their sketch-pads when they are mimicking things that they have seen. The painter though has tried to create a composition.

What this work tells us is something about taste, choice and purpose. It is clear that the doctor has a strong sense of what he believes his clientele will accept. He is so certain that he is willing to give the artist leeway to get the essence of the film. I wonder whether the artist and the doctor sat and looked at sketches made by the artist? Did the artist make thumbnails and roughs before attempting the painting? I would say unlikely, because there was so much more that he could have done with the space. Instead he produced something very static, and as we all know, the Matrix movies was about non stop action.

The Matrix 2002

This painting is representative of what happens a lot with art in Trinidad and Tobago. Someone likes something and that rules the day. Any thought to impact is in the mind of the creator. One expects that everyone will get it, because it is about something that people can relate to. Any other forethought is not really considered. The entire process is one of instinct and determination to have one�s emotional needs met. That is a very loaded statement about Trinidad and Tobago.
But every day graphic designers and craftspeople face this sort of attitude from without as well as from within. I assume that this is the casualty of small Island, small town or small country living. Addenda: The Matrix meaning and the doctor's office

The Matrix was about a real world and a false world. Is the doctor using it to make some statement about disease being in one�s mind? Is he an Iyuvidic doctor? A believer in natural cures? Is the doctor saying that the agent is the disease and Neo, Trinity and Morpheus are enclosed in a mostly turquoise cocoon that may be the blue pill? It may seem a trivial thing to discus, but this is the public art of Trinidad and Tobago. It is not art that the public sees as such. These painters are not known. These painters are usually friends of the client or have come recommended by workmen who work on putting up the wall for example. This public art is invisible to most. People see them , but they are not really seen. They do not register as art of any importance outside the service to the product. We are attempting to amass images that say something about who we are in Trinidad and Tobago. We will focus on wall signage, snow cone carts, graffiti and as many of the instinctual markings that people make because they feel deeply compelled to make art, and by doing so they give us a better sense of who we are. = Adele

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