President Obama’s nine-day Asia-Pacific trip was productive. We have deepen America’s involvement in the fast-growing region. Obama has made progress on free-trade deals, has addressed the issue of China’s growing influence in the area, has increased our military presence with an agreement with Australia and has announced that he will be dispatching Hillary Clinton to Myanmar (aka Burma) next month.
Since I felt that a parody on the trip required a wide canvas, it was easy to chose Paul Gauguin’s “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”. It was not so easy to insert the various players into such a personal post-impressionist style created by Gauguin.
The first issue was to make the central figure look definitely like a man. The figure is described as a “youth” an could be mistaken as a young woman. I beefed up the chest area to give it more muscle.
The second issue was how to superimpose the other photographic images and have them feel like they belong in the painting. I used various image enhancements and filters in Photoshop to try to make these foreign images feel like they belonged in Gauguin’s painting, yet retain enough of the original resolution to be recognizable. This involved various filters to simulate brush strokes and lots of experimentation to get the colors and values just right.
The third issue was whether to keep two of the major nude women figures nude as in the original. My original parody did have the figures nude and they looked fine to me as a painting. However, since they figures involved were current personalities with dignified positions, I spent a lot of time to located appropriate clothing and manipulate the images to fit the different position of the figures. Michelle’s sarong was “borrowed” from another Gauguin painting. Hillary’s clothing was her own from one of her pictures on the Internet. By looking at the original painting/photo, you will get how much cut-paste-distort was necessary to use these to create the “new” clothing for both women. Althought it took a lot of time to get it done, it was fun to meet the challenge.
You can compare the original Gauguin painting against my parody in the Political Parodies Gallery.