Paul Brainard (PA)
left: O The, 2008
graphite on paper, 30" x 22"
right: Coney Island Whitefish, 2008
graphite on paper, 40"x 26"
I was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and lived there until I moved to New York to attend graduate school at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. While living in Pittsburgh , I had many different food service jobs that were alternately hilarious and totally loathsome. The experience was very informative to the directions taken years later in visual art.
The use of advertising in my work came from the subversion of the advertising used in one of the “Family” Restaurants where I worked in the late 1980s. The small ad's at each table , shiny and glossy, were food pornography. The assault of loads of whipped cream, ice cream and enormous burgers with bacon, ham and cheese loaded with friend onions and special sauce was nauseating to say the least. One place served a “mystery sandwich” with at least 4 kinds of meat, sauce etc. The customers were fairly extreme in the tastes too, I can recall cooking 14 scrambled eggs for a young groom, still in his tux and his newlywed still in her gown at 4 am.
The composition of much of my work is influenced by the figure ground relationship that occurs in the average advertisement, through the person/product visual relationship. In most ad's, a happy consumer is pictured next to a product and their life becomes better as a result. The inclusion of self portraiture into the environment of the advertisement is representative of the gulf that exists between reality and the world of unreality.