“Your childhoods belong to me now,” says the concept artist Dan LuVisi of his terrifying portraits of beloved cartoon characters turned grotesque and murderous. LuVisi’s chilling series, titled Popped Culture, holds a scathing mirror to Hollywood ethics, to the exploitation that goes on behind the scenes of even the most innocent movie productions. Accompanying each of his images on his blog, the artist, who has a background in comic books and has illustrated for DC’s Batman and Superman, includes short stories outlining Tigger and Goofy’s tragic path to corruption.
LuVisi’s spare text reads quite like a noir mystery novel, filled with darkened, moody diners and mugs of bitter coffee. The characters that we associate with our own youths age, hardened by years out of the limelight. The residents of Sesame Street are seemingly evicted, cast out into a generic urban cityscape simply called “THE STREET.” Seduced by industry executives, Kermit takes a role in a brutal adult film. Those who refuse to compromise themselves for the sake of the industry are defeated, as is the case with poor, piteous Gonzo.
The Disney cartoons fare worst of all, transformed from lovable animals into nightmarish ghouls. Mickey Mouse’s gaunt body grows saggy with age, his small, round ears torn and his slimy tongue dripping hungry drool. Donald Duck’s beak opens to reveal rows of teeth, emerging like claws and cruelly lining a mass of tissue; a tiny drop of blood stains his collar. In these disturbing images, we find both humor and pain, forced to reconcile our nostalgic hopes with the realities of Hollywood corruption. (via Demilked, Huff Post, and Elite Daily)
As children, Disney movies provide us with an idealized portrait of adulthood, full of adventure and happy endings. The artist Jeff Hong provides an alternate narrative in “Unhappily Ever After;” here, our beloved Disney princesses and animals are subjected to the realities of a cruel, dark world. Set against moody, disturbing backdrops, the animated characters appear entirely out of place, stunned by the state of the human condition.
Unlike the work of Dina Goldstein, a photographer who imagined the heartbreaking fates of Disney princesses, Hong’s images preserve the two-dimensional form of the famed Disney characters, a choice which heightens the drama of each piece. As if hurled from an easily understood storybook fairytale, the princesses suffer within a more realistic (and three-dimensional) photographic space.
Throughout “Unhappily Ever After,” the artist pointedly draws attention to current social injustices. These characters, with whom we associate our own wide-eyed innocence, are placed within a a racially-segregated America (Tiana) or a casino that now occupies a Native American reservation (Pocahontas). Animal cruelty and environmental negligence are laid bare as Dumbo suffers the life of a circus animal, Bambi is hunted and stuffed, and Ariel’s lungs fill with polluted water. Simbo is held captive in a zoo. Alice forsakes Wonderland to maintain her drug habit in the streets, and Cinderella is left in a dark alleyway, her clothes ripped from her body. It is profoundly unsettling to witness these childhood symbols in such a difficult world; more distressing still is the fact these injustices and hardships happen every day. Take a look. (via Design Boom)