This exhibition is composed of portraits originally painted in the 19th Century. These family heirlooms had become casualties to the ceaseless march of time and circumstance and were eventually forsaken. Sadly, for most items of this ilk this is the end of their lives. But in the case of these pieces, this is the point in which they are reborn. McFeely goes to great lengths to acquire and restore these paintings then turns them over to accomplished artists Linda Horning (paints hats) and Katherine Jacobus (frame finishes). A collaboration of idea and artistry begins and results in the seamless addition of modern trucker hats to the portraits subjects. These hats, bearing humorous and ironic catch phrases instantly transport the paintings from the past to the current day, while compelling the viewer to ask, “who’ s satirizing who?”
As an advertising veteran, McFeely is no stranger to the power of a creative idea and the impact it can have. In this instance instead of using his creative prowess to boost sales for his clients, he saw the opportunity to pursue a higher cause and give back. This austere yet cynical concept has been conceived and produced with the intent to raise money for the San Francisco charities, ‘ Children of Shelters and ‘ A Home Within.’ “After some serious introspection (AKA midlife crisis), I realized most of my charities involve kids. Kids who are sick, abused, homeless, challenged, parentless, trafficked, or vulnerable in any way. It all breaks my heart and I want to do more.”Said Chas when asked about the inspiration behind the show.
It’ s important to point out the initial quality of the paintings in this show; they were executed over 120 years ago at a time when entire schools of artists revolved around portraiture. These artists were expected to not just record their subjects, but to provide a glimpse into their character and psyche. The Duchampian addition of the hats not only spares these canvases from oblivion, but also serves to enhance and expand the paintings initial purpose without sacrificing the considerable skill of the original artists, both technically and emotionally.
Chas McFeely is an internationally known Creative Director best recognized for viral hits ‘ Hook Chas Up’ and “Google Pizza.’ Having recently turned his attention to at-risk children, Chas is now using ‘ weird ideas’ www.weirdcharity.com to help transform young lives. Memorable career highlights include a film option from Dreamworks, two appearances on the BBC and a near death imprisonment in Zimbabwe.
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