Together with Mike, the founder of Cobra At Gallery, and his stylish wife Jeanette, artist Debra Franses envisaged a series of unique Artbags made specifically about male figures who have been great influences, both good and tragically bad, to both to celebrate and criticise the effects of these figures on popular culture and real-world aspirations for men. The sculptures in this series are a critique of the celebration and glorification of excess in a post-rationalization of 80s culture, where public political monsters hold power in our society. Each of the Artbag resin sculptures in this series contain highly specific items have been sourced and highlighted to evoke the films and books that inspired them, creating a sense of fantasy and excitement.
These works have captured the ugliness of greed the 20th Century, of the pre-mindfulness generation, where an excess of money, drugs, alcohol and power perverted the course of justice or legitimised it. The Collection was inspired by legends such as: Narcos’ Pablo Escobar, the religious, socio-political activist funded by his cocaine, marajuana, prostitution, extortion and gold smuggling cartels; Scarface’s Tony Montana as portrayed by Al Pacino, the Catholic Cuban immigrant who became consumed by his own ego, fuelled by drugs and money; the cult films of director Quentin Tarantino and his exploration of American gun culture; The Godfather trilogy’s ultimate crime boss Vito Corleone and the glorification of gangsters; Ian Fleming’s James Bond, the stealthy government ladies’ man gentleman killer and greedy, corrupt City investor Jordan Belfort of The Wolf of Wall Street fame. These are the first works in the new series by British artist Debra, who was herself studying politics & working in advertising during the ’80s, before going on to study fine art at London’s prestigious CSM post-9/11.