Lowbrow Art Obsessions: D.W. Frydendall and Jeremy Cross

I’d say that Reason One I’m glad I have a decade between me and my fine art training is that I’ve finally learned to embrace my own taste without having to hide my love for the Lowbrow Art.  While my instructors were doing their hardest to cram me into a feminist pigeonhole (something that is not as sexy as it sounds), I was trying unsuccessfully to tell them that what REALLY interested me was Pop Art and Surrealism.  Imagine my surprise and elation to learn that there was, in fact, an art movement alternately known as Pop Surrealism–enter Lowbrow.  I’m not a scholar on the topic, but dammit–I know what I like, and I like chicks, monsters, weirdness, and bright colors.

And–really–is there a finer subject for an artist than a lanky, top-hatted ghoul?  Fuck the Pieta–THIS is the true embodiment of artistic skill.  The tattered rags, the sunken cheeks, the zombie stare–brings a tear to your eye from the sheer magnificence.  That, dear friends, is the art of D.W. Frydendall, and if you think THAT is cool, just check out this post-apocalyptic vision of madness:

Much as I love the clean-lined comix style of Mr. Frydendall, I reserve a special place in my heart for artists who work in traditional media, and I think I’ve fallen in love with the Greek Orthodox icon-inspired oil paintings of Jeremy Cross.  He’s developed a visual vocabulary here that’s subversive, funny, eerie, and beautiful.  Here are a few pieces from his “Botched Saints” series:

Enjoy a gallery of Jeremy Cross’ work at ArtSlant and visit his MySpace page for more information.
And, of course, if you’re like me and want to own a piece of art from one (or BOTH) of these artists, visit Hyaena Gallery and prepare to empty your pockets.

8 thoughts on “Lowbrow Art Obsessions: D.W. Frydendall and Jeremy Cross”

  1. Great post, Empress! I’m definitely going to check out these artists in more detail once I’m out from under the thumb of the Workplace Overlords. 🙂

    I think I had a similar experience as yours when I was in an MFA Creative Writing program in my youth. I tried and tried and tried to write “mainstream/literary” stories of the sort that the profs and other wannabes were telling me were “real art,” and while I did a few things I thought weren’t bad, my heart and soul just weren’t in it. It took me a few years after getting out of the program to rediscover my love of horror and hardboiled noir writing, and throw myself back into them with abandon. I’ll never win a Pulitzer prize that way, but I’m much happier writing the stuff I *like.* Funny how that works, huh?

    Long live the Lowbrow! 😀

  2. Low-Brow & Pop-Surrealism were also a revelation to me when I discovered them.

    Sometimes a good dose of of the surreal is just what a body needs. Until Low-Brow I couldn’t find what I was looking for without having to wade through endless manifestos, factionalism and bad psychology.

    Those skeletal madonnas and saints warm what’s left of the old man’s fallen-Catholic cockles.

  3. A finer subject than a lanky, top-hatted ghoul?

    Not from where I’m standing.

    Glorious art!

    Personally, I don’t categories, because they often end up belittling something with semantics.

  4. I’m catchin’ an almost Latin American vibe from the Cross works. Good stuff.

    Thanks for introducing me to these two.

    Word Verification: Singlo
    Definition: The aura of joy unique to the happily single person. See related: “black widow giggles” and “divorcglee.”

  5. Vicar, you’re working a half day. You have no excuse for not basking in monster-flavored glee this afternoon! Hope you find something to love there. Sounds like you can definitely feel my pain WRT creative training. Much as I found value in the *technical* teaching of painting, I found that it was overwhelmed by the attempts to categorize and kinda-diminish as a result what I was trying to do :/

    Glad you’re digging these images, Brian! I just like the fact that there’s an allowance for *fun* in the world of Pop Surrealism that seems to be missing in most other art movements. If you ever want a mental experience akin to the physical one of beating your face against a brick wall, try to explain to an art professor that you’re trying to convey humor in your work. After four years of that, I was EXHAUSTED!!!

    Jack–mmmm tasty sacrilege!

    Phantom, so glad you like these! You’ve shared a lot of really interesting art over on your blog, so I’m glad to’ve returned the favor.

    CRwM–excellent observation on the Latin stylings of the Cross works. One of the coolest books I DIDN’T buy due to budgetary constraints was an amazing little tome on Mexican Baroque art–I remember some of it bearing a definite resemblance to these pieces! Well-played re: “Singlo.” Love it!

  6. How had I never seen this post before!!??? Thank you my friend.

    Cheers to you and yours.

    BTW I have a new solo show coming up on August 22nd. “The Anatomy of Faith” @ the Hyaena Gallery.

    Hope you can dig it.

  7. Jeremy, I’d love to make it out to the show! There’s a dearth of Pop Surrealism here on the East Coast, and I hope some of my Cali-Pals get a chance to see your work in person. Thanks for making the world a groovier place, sir!

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