Chuckle at These Unfortunate Crash Landing Paintings
The artist Oliver Jeffers’ subverts the normal expectations of landscapes inserting a nosediving rocket and a sinking skyscraper.
Lost in Sand, 2012. All images courtesy the artist and Studios of Oliver Jeffers
With a special flair for the comical combined with a classical sensibility, artist Oliver Jeffers is a purveyor of fine art surprises. His past works subvert old-school aesthetics while still putting craft front and center of each painting. In his latest series, titled Disaster Paintings, Jeffers imposes an element of surprise with the shocking sight of a submerged plane or building within his landscapes. The overall effect is less shocking than it is humorous—part of Jeffers’ ability to juxtapose the expected with the unexpected while frequently incorporating anachronistic technology.
Jeffers tells The Creators Project that the series grew from a few experimental works explored during down hours, separate from his other artistic responsibilities. “The Disaster Paintings series is one that has grown out of the small bits of time that emerge between my other art and publishing projects. I am always on the lookout for discarded paintings and antique prints that look like backdrops for something missing as a sort of ongoing conceptual challenge. It was only after I’d made several of these that I realized I was consistently creating disaster scenes.”
He continues, “My first Disaster piece was Lost at Lake, in which I’ve inserted a sinking Titanic into an otherwise serene landscape. I grew up in Belfast (where the Titanic was built), so that is definitely one disaster that is embedded in my cultural history.”
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