"The Ballad of John and Yoko"

Alice McMahon

Galena, United States

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  • Artwork Comments 16

Wall Art


Artist's Description

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” charcoal on mylar, 30 × 25″

John and Yoko meet “American Gothic” :D

I worked on this latest piece “The Ballad of John and Yoko” on December 8th, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and wanted to finish it for Christmas, “WAR IS OVER! if you want it Happy Christmas”.

Another charcoal on mylar work, this one was kind of fun, and it’s been so dark in the studio this past couple of weeks now that winter’s set in, it was nice to come in and see it on the easel and smile.

This is another portrait of my oldest son and his girl, my models for “Oh My Love”. She was in town over the summer and I took this snap when we were heading to downtown Chicago on the train one day. I was going to my studio, they were heading to sightsee, including the Art Institute of Chicago. Carrie is an artist, and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is part of the AIOC collection. Not sure if they saw the work that day, but this photo struck me double, because they look to me like both John and Yoko (so in love, those sunglasses!) and also so similar in pose and setting to “American Gothic”. That made me smile and while I know that the Grant Wood piece is the most highly spoofed artwork of all time, I just couldn’t resist this one.

I took another reference of the train station in my neighborhood and used it in the background, only changing the dormer window to a gothic style window and adding the peace sign. Since I already painted the Let It Be shirt Alex is wearing in the photo, I decided to change the logo to a John Lennon drawing of John and Yoko. I kept the stylized rounded tree shapes of the Wood painting, he was inspired by Memling. I also kept the potted plants on the steps of the building, in Wood’s painting these were meant to indicate the farmer’s daughter’s domesticity. My drawing is showing a committed couple, not yet married, but possibly moving in that direction. The Celtic knotwork pendants were my gift to them the first time I met Carrie, the day I took the photo for “Oh My Love”.

Wood’s piece was painted in 1930 but depicted the Victorian era. Mine depicts a contemporary couple, but harks back to the Beatles hippie days. I replaced the pitchfork with the carnation John was holding in the famous John and Yoko photo of the Bed In.

I used the same scale as the Grant wood original, and took the walk two blocks from my studio to see the painting in person, up close. I also wanted to take a look at the frame, and plan to frame my drawing as similar as possible. It’s a rustic looking distressed frame.

I guess that’s all. Fun one, on to the next!

Artwork Comments

  • gpatrick
  • Sean Farragher
  • Joni Philbin
  • Vasile Stan
  • Thomas Dodd
  • KevinKelly
  • Alice McMahon
  • Rory Stapleton
  • Alice McMahon
  • lindybird
  • Alice McMahon
  • lindybird
  • Anne Couteau
  • Alice McMahon
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