As a child, I was always intrigued by Norman Rockwell’s prolific cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, a newspaper he considered to be “the greatest show window in America. His paintings capture his observations of early to mid-20th-century life in America. While the general, and often humorous, stories told by his paintings – from a child who is sent to the principal’s office, to an exulted war hero and the anticipation of a Thanksgiving meal – remain as American as ever. It was recently discovered that Rockwell produced his paintings from staged photographs either shot by him or shot by an assistant – the photograph was a template for the final product.
With this revelation, I am exploring Rockwell’s work where the photograph is the final product. My project, Revisiting Rockwell, attempts to contemporize Rockwell’s original works by weaving into each photograph the social issues and elements more suggestive of today. I am examining whether the nostalgia of Rockwelll’s work translates into our rapidly changing lifestyles and his very human tableaux can reflect this moment in time. I am drawn to Rockwell’s work because I have always had a fascination with the past and end up having a better understanding of the world if I look at the old in the context of the new. As I continue to examine Rockwell’s work, I have noticed, for better or worse, that while sociological landscape has changed in many ways, there is much that remains the same.
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