Painter Adds Iconic Pop Culture Figures to Old Landscape Paintings

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Star Wars, Game of Thrones among the subjects of vintage store owner David Sherrill.

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“Real life is lived when tiny changes take place,” Leo Tolstoy once said. If that’s true, then vintage artist and store owner David Sherrill is living one hell of a life. The Ohio-based designer has found a niche by adding pop culture figures to old landscape paintings.

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You will find, for example, R2-D2 and a few AT-AT Walkers from Star Wars facing near a lighthouse. Or Xena, warrior princess, and her partner posed by a lake in front of a mountain. Sherrill also inserted characters from Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Netflix’s Tiger King, and other fandoms in a variety of Bob Ross-like scenes.

There are now around 40 paintings priced at US $ 20 on the Arrowhead Vintage & Handmade Goods website in Canton, Ohio (arrowheadcanton.com/altered-art). But it all started with an old piece of art in Sherrill’s store that he just couldn’t sell.

“After two years, I was like, ‘Well, that’s taking up space. I might as well throw it away. And if I have to throw it away, I might as well try to do something interesting with it. So I added some Star Wars action figures, ”he told Insider.

The piece sold and Sherrill added Godzilla to another painting. This piece also sold.

At first, Sherrill sourced the original paintings from auctions, thrift stores, and street corners, but has since grown his business to accept commissioned work. A work of art can take several days to complete.

“The response was rude early on. Some people were very offended that I took a work of art that, for a person who created it, could have been a sacred work of art to them, ”said Sherrill. But he adds that he always tries to respect the original creation.

“Sometimes I repaint the whole thing on a different canvas, just to really get a taste of this artist, the way they moved their paintings and the way they put their art together,” he said.

Sherrill’s approach is part of the artistic tradition of appropriation, where creators use pre-existing objects or images in their art with little transformation from the original. It is a practice that inspired cubist collages in the early 1900s and spawned such works as the men’s urinal signed by Marcel Duchamp, the lobster telephone by Salvador Dalí and the prints of Andy Warhol by Marilyn Monroe and cans of Campbell’s soup.

“Everyone loves to have fun,” Sherrill told Insider. “And I know it’s not art. I know what I’m doing is not the next Rembrandt. So I don’t mind doing it cheaply.

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