RipOffs summon spirits of lost artists

RipOffs summon spirits of lost artists


Dan Walton
Oliver Chronicle

The South Okanagan RipOff Artists paid tribute to Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych for this year’s project.

“Marilyn Monroe, in all her beauty and glamour and glory, was forced to be something that made her iconic but really destroyed her life in a way,” said Jan Kreut, whose medium of choice is encaustic. “Andy Warhol kind of captured all of that in his different portraits: all the beauty and the symbolism of when you push too hard with somebody, a lot of greats have succumbed to drugs, alcohol and power – all these things from being pushed beyond where they want to be. Beautiful but such a sad thing in many ways.”

Members of the RipOffs all work with a different visual medium, and every summer they choose a masterpiece of art to imitate.

On Friday, Kreut was joined at the Quail’s Nest by her 10-year-old grandson Thomas Phillips. He made a guest appearance last year as well.

Artists Jan Kreut and grandson Thomas Phillips

“I’m her co-artist,” Thomas said.

Although he wasn’t familiar with Andy Warhol before last week, “I learned that he is nicknamed the Pope of Pop.”

Thomas was getting ready to paint his own portrait of Marilyn Monroe, “And I think it’s going to look decent. Last year my painting was over-the-charts awesome.”

The Marilyn Diptych, from 1962, lives on to be one of Warhol’s signature pieces of work.

“It was a portrait of Marilyn, she was an enigma,” said multimedia artist Marion Trimble. “We’d all like to know who Marilyn really was and I think that’s the fascination that will keep on going.”

Through variations in the colour scheme, Warhol uses each portrait to highlight different features on Monroe’s highly-distinguishable face.

“She was just so recognizable,” JoAnn Turner said, who’s a painter with the artist collective. “You just had to catch a glimpse of her face and you know who you’re looking at, and there’s not very many people that that’s true of.”

Having lived in the limelight before her drug overdose, Monroe is now an icon of pop culture, Turner said. She noted the different phases of Monroe’s life were captured well by fellow RipOff artist Norberto Rodriguez de la Vega.

“He’s got almost the canonization of Marilyn Monroe – she’s become this saint, she’s become this larger-than-life image that she herself as a human could have never achieved.”