Artist: Christopher Radcliffe

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Year: 2008


Fictional comic books are filled with clichés and stereotypes. Without them, the comics would not appeal to a broader market and probably would not exist due to a lack of sales. Comic books were originally designed for children, but today they appeal to multiple generations of geeks and collectors and also account for some of the largest collectors markets in the art world. Over the past half century, comic book narratives and super hero movies have also become part of the main stream psyche. It’s a fantasy world where anything can happen and everybody including the nemesis is good looking.

The Poporn collection references the Pop language of American action comics as source material for these images. Comic book iconography offers a visual language that is instantly recognisable and easily digested by audiences from many diverse backgrounds; and they are also the stuff of my youth. Comic book art is part of a subculture many of us grow up with. It represents a fictional mythology of the human desire to be saved by a hero or become one. In an attempt to reconnect with that child within, I decided to create a series of larger-than-life super heroes of my own. The works explore the current anguish and confusion about sexism versus female sexuality, femininity and extreme feminism, as well as the female right to dolly up at the weekend, dress like a pop star and feel safe to go out on the town.

When developing the Poporn collection, I initially wanted to create a body of work that spoke about modern society: the obscurity of social criticism, the serial killer nature of judging one another online, the lack of freedom and madness caused by extreme political correctness, and the perpetual sense of restriction and expectations that we force upon young people. In the Poporn collection, I’ve created fictional characters or super sexy heroes that happen to be women. If they were men, there probably wouldn't be any issue. Though based on retro screen printed comics of the past, the style of the women depicted in my artwork refers to today’s digital narcism and the vast number of self obsessed girls you can find on Instagram and social media. There’s a specific look that has been developed and popularised by thousands of young girls and women online. On one hand I'm empowering the characters by defining them as super heroes, but on the other I’m sexualising the characters by making them appear like glamour models or super vixens from a Russ Meyer movie.