Bad Guardian Angels 72X56" Acrylic and india ink on plasticised paper (hover and scroll to zoom)
Anyone who has taken care of, or spent time with disabled people will also be familiar with the stares and glances that come their way when entering a public space. Especially spaces in which people are shopping or eating. In general, the stares are not malevolent, but curious, or even empathetic. However, there is the occasional stare that seem to be insidious or selfish. A type of stare that seems to imply that you have no right to bring such a person around good “normal” people who are just trying to go about their day and have a good time. This is not the original idea for this piece, but it is what I think about when I see it now.
The idea of guardian angels implies beneficence. Guardian angels are thought to protect the people under their care. However, if guardian angels are just former living people who are now spirits with day jobs; then I assume the opposite. The angles have the same personalities in the afterlife as they did in life. They can be jealous, insecure, and mean. They can either comfort or frighten, or inspire the worst in their ward's character.
The only benevolent Angel in this piece is the main one. Finding the stares being given his ward genuinely distressing, he is desperate to provide comfort. Part of him would like to lash out, but feels conflicted, causing him to doubt his good nature, but only for a moment.
In the background there is an angry male who in life was a proud important football player. Now unable to play himself, he forces his protectorate to wear the jacket of his former team. The man is not of masculine athletic build and draws the ire of his Angel, which explains the black eye.
A religious figure in elite garbs stares backward amused at her melted face, enjoying his burger. His Angel is a former privileged religious figure. Standing taller so he can look down on more people. He teaches his ward in the ancient ways of smug self righteousness, yet give believable lip service towards compassion and humility, but only to cement their position of primary importance. They are eating with a two-headed mental patient whose Angel is not even human. The sheer amount of paperwork in an afterlife dimension containing beings from many different worlds mean that the mix ups do occur from time to time. The Angel seems confused as to why it is there, and just sadly stares into the middle distance projecting neither compassion or contempt.
The booth behind him is a native american spirit, who has been coaching his ward to be the best basketball player in the world. His ward has listened and given deference to his ancestor. His ancestor’s dream is doomed due to the advanced age of his ward, but he still believes.
The pairing coming through the door seem reversed. If anything the colonial individual should be the ghost to the modern looking chap behind him. The Secret-Service guardian Angel is not so much a protector, but a servant for the Colonial President in front of him. He walks around with that smug look, always a success he learns nothing and will continue to obliviously commit the exact same and horrific mistakes. Secure in the knowledge that he is never wrong.
Extra Credit: Can you find the Angel desperately trying to find a location on a map sitting in the passenger seat of a background car?