|Vinyl Mullet – 20×20, vinyl and tape.|
In 2009 while living in Chapel Hill, NC I would walk by a hair salon on my way to work every morning. I took notice when they began advertising for a “Mullets and Mohawks art contest.” For several weeks I worked on an idea with a throwback to the 70s involving using vinyl cutouts. One day when I paused at their storefront window to really think about a mullet themed painting I thought back to my idea about the sappy figures of Jesus and how I always thought he was a snip away from having a mullet. It wasn’t much more of a step to turn glowing halos into mohawks. I resisted the urge to paint this idea until just a day or two before the art was due for submission. I think I finished my art piece at 3 in the morning and dropped it off the following day on the art submission deadline, hoping I wouldn’t be chased out of town with torches and pitchforks. I had concluded that I had to let my idea come out that if I censored something that I was this excited about painting it might stifle other ideas that creep into my mind. The mohawks, and the idea to add the Latin banner was too perfect not to see come together. What other time in my life would a Jesus with a mullet ever be more appropriate that an art contest for mullets? What sort of art do you expect when you ask for mullets?
When I got the call a week or so later from the Beehive announcing that my picture had won, I didn’t even know which one had won till I went to pick up my $100 gift certificate. I didn’t think “Vinyl Mullet was that impressive and I couldn’t quite believe that my little 8×10 of abomination had even been considered as artistic. But I found out that not only had I won first place but that the Beehive ladies were ready to fight over who got to purchase my little 8×10 original. As they laughed and talked about the novelty of it I began to see Bible verses and mullets conjure in my head, ideas swirled and I could feel creativity building at the encouragement. They liked my art??? There is SO much more where that came from. I went straight home to my roommate and we talked about iconic paintings and mullet puns. She had a Catholic and Latin background and within half an hour I had gone from one trepidatious painting to at least 7 ideas. I could do a whole series! The Beehive was happy to show my whole mullet series at their shop.
Two years passed before I made any more mullet art. At the end of 2011 I decided that 2012 would be the year that I would put myself out there and do big things with my art. In the middle of December I contacted the Beehive and asked them about their show schedule for the upcoming year. I would have a year to plan my next show, it would be spectacular, I was on top of my game as an artist with a plan. Their response was that they would love to have my show up and would I like to have it in January/February as that was the only available slot for THE WHOLE YEAR. I suddenly had 2 weeks to paint 9 new paintings. It was another scary moment as I stared at my calendar and started thinking of how I would have to rearrange my schedule. That was a lot of art to do but I took a deep breath and knew that I HAD to say yes, just like I had to paint that first painting years before. I had my solo Sacred Mullet show Jan-Feb 2012.
I thought that was all of my ideas but as I talk to people and as people see my mullets they start brainstorming and the now I have another dozen ideas. It has gotten to the point that I can’t even keep track of them all. Last year someone came up with an idea that was so fun that I HAD to paint it for Easter. Unfortunately, timing and procrastination won and I never got past getting 3 mullet paintings started. I don’t know what point it was in the winter of 2013 but it came to my knowledge that Easter was landing on 4-20 in 2014. Not only did I already have a mullet for Easter but I knew the Bible was full of pot puns, “stone”, “high” days, etc. Also, pot has been a big part of the news this past year with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and California. I had a date, I HAD to have another show. I’ve picked 10 of my favorite mullet ideas – 10 that I could remember and now here it is.
Mullets have been been a moral dilemma for me. They’re silly, tacky, and in some ways I wonder if it’s mean of me to make fun of the haircut or to make light of classical religious paintings. I don’t think it’s right to make fun of others religions buuuut I am making fun of the idea of Jesus being a weepy eyed pasty little white guy. I guess it’s my passive aggressive way of asking how churches can overlook that whole commandment of not making graven images of God. All these emo portraits are not what Jesus looks like so neither are my portraits that look like the Jesus portraits with a mullet…or a handlebar mustache. Actually, when I paint these I think God is laughing right there with me. Sometimes the ideas I get are so divinely wrong that I wonder if He’s letting me in on a joke. Some of my new mullets have given me perspective on my beliefs. God is in all of us. What if He DID have a tacky mullet? Would we all follow him then? What if Mary wasn’t some wispy little thing. What if she was actually just a fat? Would she be so divine and special? And even though I am still making fun of mullets it’s more like exalted sarcasm. Let’s make them holy. Let’s put them with biblical times.
How about you, what’s your Sacred Mullet idea?