Thursday, January 23, 2014

So How Is George Zimmerman Making His Paintings?

(Zimmerman's painting via Gawker and everywhere else.)

The art world is abuzz about the new offering from noted painter George Zimmerman. Actually, that's a complete lie. But I bet that attentive Pony Pals already know the answer to the question in the title: it's traced, naturally! But how was it traced? Here's my theory, on which I'd bet money, and it shows not only a new kind of tracing fakery we haven't discussed here yet, but also that classic forgers' methods can be used to create original works. Well, somewhat original, anyway.

What Zimmerman did was to have this AP news photo:

...printed on "canvas paper", and then he painted over it. That's it! Many, many companies offer printing on ersatz canvas; it's hardly a rare service. And, in fact, it's a great deal more common (and less cumbersome) these days than an opaque projector, which would be my guess #2. There were certainly no silkscreens involved, a la Shep Fairey, who Zimmerman is attempting to emulate; however, a lettering template was evidently used to (crudely) stencil on the lettering.

If this were true, the two images should match up well, and indeed, look at the results when the news photo is turned blue and superimposed on Zimmerman's painting:

(Click for bigger.)

Perfect match. So, yeah, this is slapdash stuff, lazily traced by an untalented artist. But you could already tell that just by looking at it.

What's interesting is that this technique is an old forgery trick from before the days of infrared reflectography and X-rays, and is basically exactly the same technique (painting over a mounted photo) the notorious "Wacker forger" used to execute many of his brilliant Vincent van Gogh fakes, such as this one which ended up in the collection at my job. Whoopsies!

UPDATE: Would it be unbecoming of me to point out that I figured this one out before everybody else?


Lulu, the Dewey Dame said...

We're talking THE George Zimmerman??

Taking a page out of Dubya's notebook, I guess...

Lulu, the Dewey Dame said...

Actually, I saw just the sort of tracing device he would need in the Harriet Carter catalog!

Anonymous said...

He left out the cross she was wearing.... hmmmm

Peteykins said...

Ha ha, Lulu, are you suggesting he used a pantograph?? If so, I like your way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Looks like AP will be looking for an expert witness.