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Revolutionary Oil Painting
April 17, 2006 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Your portrait painted like a propaganda poster. Become a socialist hero... in just 4 easy steps. To start, pick a poster from among the selection. Two weeks later, your painting is ready. (via STaAatCK)
posted by Ljubljana (72 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
*adds this to her Christmas wish-list*
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:33 AM on April 17, 2006


Awesome.
posted by billysumday at 11:38 AM on April 17, 2006


Great, only wish they'd have some Russian and Cuban ones as well.
posted by keijo at 11:40 AM on April 17, 2006


I want this poster with these faces and the catchphrase "ZOOOOOOM!"
posted by Acey at 11:40 AM on April 17, 2006


ditto, keijo.
posted by dreamsign at 11:40 AM on April 17, 2006


OHMYGODAWESOME!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:43 AM on April 17, 2006


I already got one.
posted by mathowie at 11:45 AM on April 17, 2006


Hot damn. I'd totally put my face on this one.

But really, with some l33t PhotoShop cunning, couldn't you DIY?
posted by antifreez_ at 11:49 AM on April 17, 2006


Any artists doing Russian propoganda posters? I look almost exactly like the men in those Mao posters. If I ordered one and sent my photo to the artist, he'd probably laugh and just run the original through a copier.
posted by junesix at 11:53 AM on April 17, 2006


Or how about putting your face on these? Good times!
posted by loquax at 11:59 AM on April 17, 2006


loquax - "You don't have permission to access /academic/cas/gpa/posters/nederland.jpg on this server."
posted by Witty at 12:03 PM on April 17, 2006


This is so amazingly incredibly awesome.
posted by xthlc at 12:04 PM on April 17, 2006


What!?!? No Che? They are so not getting my business!!
posted by nofundy at 12:09 PM on April 17, 2006


Strange, I can get to them...

I posted links to Nazi posters. Funny ones featuring Hitler looking stern and SS men in uniform.

I have no idea why profiting on immense tragedy and abject human suffering would be seen as funny. Those posters are tragic, not comical. Ask some of the villagers that ate their dead friends to stay alive during the great leap forward. Or give someone $200 to make a silly present so you can get a chuckle out of your pals.
posted by loquax at 12:10 PM on April 17, 2006


If you're going to do it with PhotoShop, I recommend using the Paint Daubs filter with a relatively small brush size.
posted by Bugbread at 12:13 PM on April 17, 2006


I can't wait to get a chuckle out of some of my pals!
posted by OmieWise at 12:14 PM on April 17, 2006


You can't get into the images because they have referrer-based blocking setup. To view them, open a fresh browser window and then copy/paste the URL in question. The reason the links work for loquax is that he already has the images in question cached, so his browser doesn't even bother to do the lookup.
posted by Ryvar at 12:18 PM on April 17, 2006


loquax, should we feel the same way about American western and frontier art, given that our frontier was built on betrayal, lies, murder, rape and genocide?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 PM on April 17, 2006


loquax : "Those posters are tragic, not comical. Ask some of the villagers that ate their dead friends to stay alive during the great leap forward. Or give someone $200 to make a silly present so you can get a chuckle out of your pals."

If you're going to ask someone for their impression on the comedic value of something, asking someone who ate their dead friends to stay alive through it is probably not the right person to ask. You might want to choose someone just a tad more divorced from the subject.
posted by Bugbread at 12:20 PM on April 17, 2006


loquax - Funny Hitler ones - and these aren't allowed?
posted by RufusW at 12:22 PM on April 17, 2006


Thanks Ryvar - no need to bother though, nothing exciting, just a not-so-subtle jab at the cult of Maoist propaganda poster collection.

George: I'm not telling you how to feel. If you want to hang posters produced by the government responsible for the deaths of anywhere from 10-70 million people, directly and indirectly through purges of state enemies, starvation and forced labour, be my guest. Just be aware that there are still survivors of Mao's playground that may not appreciate the kitsch value.
posted by loquax at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2006


I was being sarcastic RufusW. It didn't work.
posted by loquax at 12:24 PM on April 17, 2006


One of my wife's colleagues in China who was sent to the countryside from her university sent me a Maoist poster from the 60's as a present because she thought I would think it was cool. Does that count loquax?

Incidentally, before the Maoist era famines often drove desperate Chinese peasants to eat others, including their own (usually girl) children.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:28 PM on April 17, 2006


loquax, Maoist kitsch -- AS kitsch -- is for sale in China, in shops and in street markets, and the vendors themselves appreciate their kitsch value and laugh about it; and absolutely no-one is going up to them and shaking a fist in their face and calling them insensitive. I speak from firsthand knowledge. Your belief that the propaganda is inseparable from crimes of the state of the same epoch and cannot therefore be enjoyed would not appear to be shared by the people who lived it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2006


Loquax is spot on. These images were part of the institutional voice of one of the most murderous regimes of the last century. But I do respond to their iconography. Weird.

Many people have observed things firsthand and come to erroneous conclusions, Spiggott, and your first comment has given me no confidence in either your ability to observe or analyze.
posted by mojohand at 12:37 PM on April 17, 2006


Soz loquax.

RPS propaganda - funny but ineffective
posted by RufusW at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2006


Lame, expensive, insulting. A trifecta of style sure to add extra punch to your living room and make your wallet lighter in the process. sign me up omg hurf durf fascism is teh funny
posted by prostyle at 12:39 PM on April 17, 2006


Totally fine. I'm not saying it should be illegal or taboo to display them or purchase them. I've been to exhibits of Maoist propaganda, and I appreciate them as a sort of tragic pop art of the period, as well as part of the historical record. Personally, I think it crosses the line to have one's face painted on top as a joke. If other's don't, fine. It's a personal choice, I suppose. I don't believe that those in the Chinese countryside that bore the brunt of the devastation of Mao's policy would share the same attitudes (that I've also observed) in the cities when it comes to this sort of thing, but in any case, I don't think it matters. The tragedies that those posters represent would always preclude me from hanging them on my walls. Like Nazi posters, or Hezbollah posters, or Stalinist posters or Khmer Rouge posters and so on...
posted by loquax at 12:40 PM on April 17, 2006


cool idea as this is...and i hate to throw water on such a great flame, but you guys know me....

um, why can't i do this myself in photoshop/psp/whatever? it's a simple "brush" filter. true, i can't print it out very large, but there's always the rasterbator.
posted by TheStorm at 12:40 PM on April 17, 2006


Antifreez_, TheStorm, I don't think anyone is arguing that you can't do it yourself with PhotoShop. I just think this product is aimed at people who can't do it themselves with Photoshop, or who want it very large and yet without bluriness/jagginess (which you'd probably get with a poor source image and rasterbator), or who want it to be hand-painted for whatever reason.

Kinda like paying someone to make a website for you, or to make you a tasty dinner, or to paint your house, or any of the other things that people pay others to do for them.
posted by Bugbread at 12:47 PM on April 17, 2006


TheStorm, it's not Photoshop, it's oil paint on canvas.
Anyway, I like them. and considering they're hand-painted portraits, I don't find them very expensive, either.
posted by obloquy at 12:54 PM on April 17, 2006


Once, on a trip out west, I got a bullfighting poster made up in this El Paso giftshop with my friend's name on it. It listed two bullfighters and then his name in the same ink-stamped font. Looked awesome and authentic. He never even hung it up.

To this day, I still regret that I never had one made for myself.
posted by ColdChef at 12:58 PM on April 17, 2006


ColdChef, I wouldn't regret it too much: so many British tourists have brought back those posters from Spain that "bullfight poster with your name on" is a kind of joke phrase in the UK.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:01 PM on April 17, 2006


Well. That's good to know. Still, "El ColdChef Loco" would be cool on a poster.

Incidentally, I found the store I went to. Doesn't look like they still do the posters. They also had wacky postcards for a penny a piece. I regret not buying hundreds of them.
posted by ColdChef at 1:06 PM on April 17, 2006


George_Spiggott : "so many British tourists have brought back those posters from Spain that 'bullfight poster with your name on' is a kind of joke phrase in the UK"

Not Spain, but sure enough, a quick googling came up with this sentence: "Along with the bullfighting poster with YOUR NAME HERE, the straw donkey (that would be burro de paja in Spanish) has long been the souvenir of choice for the package-tour Brit returning tired but happy from a Costa Rica holiday"

So, "Brits + Spanish speaking area = personalized bullfighting poster souvenir". Thank you, for giving me another little nugget of trivia.
posted by Bugbread at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2006


Any place where I can get my face on Captialist propaganda pictures?
posted by Postroad at 1:11 PM on April 17, 2006


loquax, I will say that your point about the difference in attitude and experience between the cities and the countryside struck home. I believe you are quite right about that and about its relevance.

To get back to my earlier point (mojohand's non-argument notwithstanding much of anything), I think it's a reasonable analogy for someone -- say in another country -- to be offended by American cowboy and frontier art because it glorifies a national agenda which was inextricably linked to the destruction of the people who were living here. You can, with some justification, conflate the two, or you can appreciate the art for whatever intrinsic value you might find it it for its own sake.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:17 PM on April 17, 2006


If you want to hang posters produced by the government responsible for the deaths of anywhere from 10-70 million people, directly and indirectly through purges of state enemies, starvation and forced labour, be my guest. Just be aware that there are still survivors of Mao's playground that may not appreciate the kitsch value.

What better way to demonstrate the downfall of Mao's brand of socialism than parody? Because that's basically what these are.

Any place where I can get my face on Captialist propaganda pictures?

Sure. This guy can do it for you.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:29 PM on April 17, 2006


and considering they're hand-painted portraits

I'm not so sure - the shipping info says they're shipped rolled-up in a tube. I wouldn't be surprised if they are in fact just photoshopped from high-quality scans of the original posters.
posted by odinsdream at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2006


I'm not so sure - the shipping info says they're shipped rolled-up in a tube. I wouldn't be surprised if they are in fact just photoshopped from high-quality scans of the original posters.
posted by odinsdream at 4:32 PM EST on April 17 [!]


The site does repeatedly say that you will be getting a painting, by a painter, on canvas. I know that not everything you see for sale on-line turns out to be what is advertised, but this does seem to at least advertise a painting.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:39 PM on April 17, 2006


These really piss me off, although I also like the idea and like the originals from an aesthetic/historical perspective. Why these suck:

1. $150 ? What a rip.
2. How much of that goes to the original artist? All they are doing is some quick photoshop work, and ripping off the original artists. And we complain in the West of the Chinese pirates? What if I change the fonts and colors in Metamorphosis, can I then sell that online as my own?
3. Reasons above stated, yeah there is a kitsch element but these should be appreciated (in original form) as history / art, not "Go-oolly, ain't that cool I'm in the propaganda poster yuk yuk"
4. Do it yourself, this is basic photoshop work.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:43 PM on April 17, 2006


it also says:

" Offer yourself a beautiful oil painting, executed by an artist painter. Originality guaranteed."
posted by stenseng at 1:43 PM on April 17, 2006


Wait, I'm confused. Does it make me a bad person that I think Nazi and Stalinist and Maoist art is aesthetically aweome?
posted by dame at 1:46 PM on April 17, 2006


No, because it is aesthetically awesome. It doesn't make you any more of a bad person than thinking Thriller is a really kickass album, while also thinking Michael Jackson is very likely a seriously disturbed child-buggerer.
posted by stenseng at 2:00 PM on April 17, 2006


Who's bad?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2006


Meatbomb, you'd have a hard time finding the original artist of a Chinese propaganda poster, and in any event, he or she would not own the copyright. Some government organizations assert copyright over their official publications and others do not. But there's certainly not going to be any issue of any private party being ripped off here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2006


George_Spiggott: Like I said, I do appreciate the art for its intrinsic, cultural and historical value, but I think the posted website goes a little far in stripping away the context of the art and leaving behind only, well, comedic value, for lack of a better term. Personally, I can't forget that it was made not for it's aesthetic qualities, but to lie to and manipulate the populations it was targeting.

Which is very different from period art depicting frontier life, or the Napoleonic wars, or Ancient Greek battles. It would not surprise me at all if some people did take offense to glorified depictions of cowboy or frontier culture (or capitalist/US culture too). That's their prerogative, and it may be justified either personally or by circumstance and context, but I would argue that the cultural gulf between that era and this one, as well as the passage of time mitigates much of the visceral reaction to something like that. There are no remaining survivors, for one thing. Even still, some aspects of that era are certainly contentious. Sports team names, for example, are changing all across the US because of their use of native american terms or symbols. Native symbols and history today are always treated with respect or protested against if not. There is still a sensitivity there, justified or not, and meanwhile there doesn't appear to be much sensitivity in Western society when it comes to what happened in Maoist China (and Stalinist Russia too, for that matter).

(As an aside, Matt deleted an image from the site the other day that depicted some sort of "blackface" poster from the 1920's or something - obviously meant as satire and in an ironic way, certainly aesthetically unique art of the period with historical value, yet not appropriate to stay up on the site. Not saying this post should be deleted by any means, but why is a 20's blackface poster taboo and a 70's Great Leap Forward poster funny?)

Regardless, I think that in terms of the proximity to the events and the sheer scale of what happened, not much in human history measures up to what Mao, Stalin and Hitler did. 100, even 50 years from now these posters will likely have lost any emotional meaning, but until then, well, you know what I think.
posted by loquax at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2006


Hmm... I'm not down with the message, but this would look fabulous over my couch!
posted by gigawhat? at 2:21 PM on April 17, 2006


The way I see it, the best way you can remove the power from a piece of cultural iconography representative of bad times is to poke fun at it - have fun with it, and in general take it as lightly as possible -

See the oeuvre of Mel Brooks for many positive examples.
posted by stenseng at 2:25 PM on April 17, 2006


See also:

The Communist Party


posted by stenseng at 2:35 PM on April 17, 2006


I wonder why it's hard for many to seperate the aesthetic style in propaganda from the message/history it reminds us of. Just because you like an artistic style does not mean you espouse the message.
posted by NationalKato at 2:35 PM on April 17, 2006


Stenseng, that's awesome.
posted by Bugbread at 2:43 PM on April 17, 2006


I dont know about you, but I cant wait for the "lets not rebuild New Orleans from Katrina"- George Bush poster with my face in place of his...
posted by subaruwrx at 2:44 PM on April 17, 2006


Personally, I can't forget that it was made not for it's aesthetic qualities, but to lie to and manipulate the populations it was targeting.

I feel the same way about my farrah fawcett poster.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 PM on April 17, 2006



posted by squalor at 3:42 PM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Lenin looks like George Jefferson.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:43 PM on April 17, 2006


I wonder why it's hard for many to seperate the aesthetic style in propaganda from the message/history it reminds us of.

Well, it is called "Socialist Realism."

And squalor, that's clearly propaganda - everyone knows George W Bush never actually wore his pilot's uniform.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:52 PM on April 17, 2006


Ahhhhh what a good idea ! Damn I wish I had mad photoshop skillz , I only have moderately insane ones :<
posted by elpapacito at 4:38 PM on April 17, 2006


So...I take it that either half the folks here haven't noticed that this is a service for painting these pictures, or that half of the folks here have some kind of kick ass printers that paint photoshop images onto canvas instead of printing them?
posted by Bugbread at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2006


"...some kind of kick ass printers that paint photoshop images onto canvas..."

Yup.
posted by squalor at 5:31 PM on April 17, 2006


I have no idea why profiting on immense tragedy and abject human suffering would be seen as funny.

HAW HAW HAW! And they say we leftists have no sense of humour! Arf!
posted by Decani at 5:55 PM on April 17, 2006


Dammit- this is Habit Forming!

Just call me Mr. Not Quite Ready for Worth 1000!
posted by squalor at 6:05 PM on April 17, 2006


squalor: pornographic is that christina aguillera advert..oh my god it's gross , but not gross funny..just gross ! Pix of naked woman are faaar less pornographic.

Nice job with Dick :)
posted by elpapacito at 7:11 PM on April 17, 2006


Bad photoshops'r'us.

um, why can't i do this myself in photoshop/psp/whatever?

You can. But Americans like to pay for things. That's the delicious irony in play, you see.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:18 PM on April 17, 2006


I have a "We must liberate Taiwan" poster in my apartment here in Taipei. My friends agree that it's quite entertaining, though I'll probably tone down the sarcasm when showing it to any invading PLA troops who stop by.
posted by Poagao at 12:39 AM on April 18, 2006


What if I change the fonts and colors in Metamorphosis, can I then sell that online as my own?

Yes, actually. You can.
posted by EarBucket at 4:24 AM on April 18, 2006


: "'...some kind of kick ass printers that paint photoshop images onto canvas...'

squalor: "Yup."

Ok, I have to admit, that's pretty cool, but it doesn't paint photoshop images onto canvas so much as print them onto canvas (no variations in thickness, gloop, etc.)

stavrosthewonderchicken : "You can. But Americans like to pay for things. That's the delicious irony in play, you see."

Man, what is with people here assuming that everyone knows how to use Photoshop well or is inclined to learn? I mean, hell, we don't complain when people buy furniture, even though they could, of course, make their own, or buy CDs, even though they could, of course, learn to play their own instruments, or go to a restaurant, when they could, of course, learn to be a great chef...But when it comes to Photoshop, everyone MUST know how to use it, or they are tremendous tools who are either incredibly stupid or vulgarly wealthy.
posted by Bugbread at 6:23 AM on April 18, 2006


There are no remaining survivors, for one thing.

True. How is that relevant? When there are no survivors of Mao's program it becomes hunky dory? What about the descendants, why don't they get equal measure?

In the U.S., the descendants of the long dead and murdered are on reservations and for the most part, their culture has been so weakened by the massive genocide that took place durinig that time that it is close to being effectively obliterated. Restoration and historical research efforts are on the rise however.

This process is belittling the original intent of the posters while admiring their artistic style, which is not uniquely "socialist" either.
posted by juiceCake at 8:13 AM on April 18, 2006


True. How is that relevant? When there are no survivors of Mao's program it becomes hunky dory?

No, it's just less immediate and emotional, IMO. Like how the US Civil War is now re-enacted over beer and hot dogs.

What about the descendants, why don't they get equal measure?


I'm not talking about any measures for anybody, just respect/decorum/whatever for events and a regime that claimed tens of millions of lives a scant 40 years ago. This was in some ways the Jewish Holocaust times 10, how many people would feel comfortable replacing Himmler's face with their own on a vintage poster? I'm a descendant of people who suffered under the Nazis and Stalin and Communism, and while I'm sensitive (obviously), I don't have the same visceral reaction to it that my family members that lived through it do. What's the expression? Comedy=Tragedy+Time? I agree with that, and I'm all for laughing along with impressions of Napoleon or Vlad the Impaler, I just don't think enough time has passed for Mao's murders to be funny.

Restoration and historical research efforts are on the rise however.

Exactly my point. The respect shown to the plight of Native Peoples in North America is far greater that the respect shown to the 30 million Ukrainians that died under Stalin, or the countless millions that died under Mao far more recently and in far greater numbers than anything that happened in North America. Why is this so? Better lobby groups for the victims?

This process is belittling the original intent of the posters while admiring their artistic style, which is not uniquely "socialist" either.

I have no problem mocking Mao, as he so richly deserves, I'm just not sure how much of it is mocking, and if those that are mocking really understand the context and the details of what happened. I don't know how to explain it, but I completely agree that those posters are amazing in some way, and provoke a strong emotional response because of the style and the subject matter. Which is what they were designed to do. Their artistry was designed to appeal to people in a subconscious way, and I'm not sure that the end of that era has truly mitigated the subliminal messages they espouse. The fact that I'm so completely morally opposed to them, yet am still drawn to them tells me something. Why, for example, is Nazi symbology banned or at least highly frowned upon almost everywhere, but Maoist propaganda isn't? What about the KKK? Allowing this type of propaganda to be used as comedy or mockery when most people are less familiar with the context than the Nazi context trivializes the crimes that this art covered up.

I didn't say anything about socialism, incidentally.
posted by loquax at 8:58 AM on April 18, 2006


What I'm looking for is a someone who will insert the face of my dog into this work of art.
posted by sixpack at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2006



Man, what is with people here assuming that everyone knows how to use Photoshop well or is inclined to learn? [...] But when it comes to Photoshop, everyone MUST know how to use it, or they are tremendous tools who are either incredibly stupid or vulgarly wealthy.


"...but when it comes to computers, everyone MUST know how to use them..."

Which is to say: you're pretty much full of shit, while missing my semi-humorous point.

I don't use Photoshop for my fun, by the way. Never did bother to learn. Paintshop Pro for lyfe, motherfucker. And learning to use an image manipulation tool takes about fifteen minutes of all that valuable time you might spend feeding hungry orphans or marching for world peace or whatever the fuck.

If people making assumptions annoys you, what annoys me is people defending ignorance and lack of curiosity as a virtue.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2006


The Busheviks' Great Leap Forward: "Rugged individualism is strongest when we obey."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:25 AM on April 20, 2006


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