Fred de Jager

Acrylic on canvas
20" x 16"

I have appropriated the design of this Eastern canned coffee, painted in acrylic in a
Lichtensteinian way, to mimic the screen-printing process employed by the mass
media. This movement is mirrored in the way the subject itself, “canned coffee”,
emulates fresh coffee. Unlike the ease implied by this product, however, the painting
process was slower and more deliberate, though at the same time retaining a sense of
this canned “artificiality” through the use of acrylics instead of oils. The scale and
perspective of the can itself is also imposing, dictating the viewer’s vantage point and
thereby reducing them to the position of the subject: the product looks down at the
viewer, claiming control and dominance.

Taking a “popularised” image (and a objet trouve, a la google) and transforming and
elevating it from the ordinary to art in a Warholian popart fashion, is also suggestive
of coffee culture: the ultimate consumerist practice, where coffee is the “liquid
internet” feeding into the mind: keeping awake the weary, inspiring the thinkers and
sealing the deals around the table, it is consumerisms mental lubrication – the crude
oil that keeps it going – but in extracting it, it also leaves a stain on the environment.
It is a drug some humans cannot get enough of, from a pretty white flower we end up
tossing and turning at night from too much of a “good” thing. Is this the tail wagging
the dog?