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The Joker T-Shirt by PhilLewis

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I received a ceramic cheshire cat as a gift a few years ago. It lives in my studio and I have always liked it’s energy. Alice in Wonderland is a favorite story of mine, and a huge influence on my artwork. I also have “Six Bird Hunters in Full Camouflage” by James Christensen hanging in my house which certainly played a part in the direction of this piece. I felt the time had come to tie these influences together.

I wanted to give a different spin to the Cheshire Cat character. In Alice in Wonderland, he is mischievous, almost menacing… this one is a little more friendly and forgiving. I also really enjoy the classic dichotomy between a cat and a goldfish. The fish always seems so helpless against the huge cat, but cats usually hate water, and therefore can’t really get after the fish. It’s a peculiar relationship.

I wanted to create a delicate tension between the cat and fish that accentuates this situation, yet remains in a perfect balance. The cat looks so harmless with it’s sheepish grin, like it couldn’t hurt a fly, let alone a fish…yet, is he really? or is it all just for show? And the goldfish, he should be terrified in his position, but he has this arrogant, sort of cocky grin like he has nothing to fear and is on top of the world. Are these two friends? Or enemies? I’ll let you be the judge…

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