A while back, I started a series of manipulated images from the 19th century. I have been collecting Victorian cabinet cards for a while, and I wanted to use them in a different way in my work. Many artists have used the old photos and inserted animal heads over the old people heads (including myself). But I felt there was something richer and more interesting I could do. I wanted to have rich colors and floral patterns as well, and many of my old cards were from Hong Kong or Japan.
So I came up with the "Vicflorians". A new way of looking at old portrait photography. The flowers are more ambiguous than using animal heads; you can read anything into them, and they seem less kitchy.
I made a larger series of these and mounted many of them onto cut cardboard to look like the original cabinet cards. They sold well at a few art shows, so I decided to make prints and sell them in my Etsy store.
It always helps me to try and come up with a story or a background for my characters; it gives me a context and often leads to a better illustration, so here is a little bit about the Vicflorians.
In my mind, they are a silent and well mannered race of beings. Although they are quite formal, with impeccable manners, they can be very warm and outgoing. Of course, they are lovers of tea, and love to picnic outdoors. Vicflorians are fond of floral patterns and rich colors. Their skins are quite fragile and as a consequence, they tend to wear a lot of cloths to cover up their delicate skins. It is not uncommon to see Vicflorian women covered from the neck on down; gloves, long skirts and carrying parasols to protect them from the bright sun. Vicflorian women are very fashionable, and are always dressed in the height of fashion. The women are very fond of little beetles that they carry around as pets. The beetles are usually large horned beetles or other bright, jewel toned insects. They keep them on little gold or silver leashes (they are quite tame and gentle).
Here are some of the new prints available now in my Etsy store. There are also two more images in this series, the Flower Geishas, listed earlier in my blog.
This first gentleman is wearing a dapper outfit with a waistcoat and ascot.
This lovely young woman is dressed for a walk in the park. Note her little pet horned beetle on the golden leash.
Here is a gentleman dressed in his parson's outfit.
This is one of my favorites. I found this old photo while exploring some of the old antique stores of Hong Kong. I love the pink and lime green backdrop; a very traditional Chinese color combination that works really well with her wonderful silk robes.
All are available for sell in my Etsy shop; http://www.etsy.com/shop/BarkingMadArts
I would love to hear what people think. Please drop me a comment.