Updated: May 12
The metal businessman figurine in my painting, Everyone thought Frank was a company man (shown at the bottom of this post) was found in a junk store in the middle of nowhere while on a cross country road trip. I’m guessing he may have once been part of a long forgotten award trophy for salesman of the year or some other professional achievement. There is a weightiness about him that seems important to me. There is also self confidence and a sense that he has a plan.
The name "Frank" seems to suit him.
As usual, selecting the other objects in the narrative was a slow process of placing, looking, photographing and adjusting, repeated over and over until the composition felt right. What surprised me the most with this still life was how the other objects don't seem to overly complicate the painting even though some of them have human traits and are attention-getting on their own. I think it all works visually because those other "characters" are gazing out at the viewer while Frank is looking away from them to a point off of the canvas. It's as if his plans don't really include the rest of the scene, making it more like a backdrop. The little red cocktail monkeys are all over the place, doing their darnedest to distract him but Frank looks determined to continue on his course.
The meaning of the painting is by no means obvious or easy. The symbolism speaks to an individual's role in business and commerce, alluding to how a person's participation affects his or her personal life as well as the broader world. What responsibility does an individual have for any repercussions of their profession or the organizations they work for? Depending on the viewer's point of view and personal beliefs, the meaning of the painting can go in many directions.
If you're still lost, you can start by asking, “What’s in the binder Frank is clutching and where is he going with it?”
Everyone thought Frank was a company man | Oil on linen, 40 X 30 inches