Humanity Confronts the Question of Taking the Blue or Red Pill: The Capitalistic Race to Utopia, the Melting Pot of Multicultural Aesthetics, and Will Nature Exhile Humanity for Transcendent Indulgence and Excess Consumptions?


This "Japanese Mona Lisa" painting I completed in 2011 portrays a serene and appealing setting compared to the tumultuous blows of waves exhibits and acknowledges duality in nature.

This “Japanese Mona Lisa” painting I completed in 2011 portrays a serene and appealing setting compared to the tumultuous blows of waves exhibits and acknowledges duality in nature.

 

 

The collectivistic culture of Japan and the individualistic culture of America (akin to my inherent dual race) has shared unique aesthetics with globalization as it created more conglomerated mixtures of visual cultures. Trade exponentially fueled capitalism through popular demand during a time when environmental human impacts began threatening our limited resources. The artificial world and the natural world now contest over the earth with innovative technologies fights alongside its creators (humanity). As technology grew, so did the acceleration of information sharing. Its success dictated its existence since it provides luxuries such as financial gain, excess in consumption, appreciation for materialism, thirst for other people’s gossip (celebrity culture), and cultural authority albeit at a heavy price. Human advances had led to irreparable consumptions of crucial resources and less value in the antiquated human philosophical values such as “self,” tradition, logic, knowledge and nature. It is a dangerous game of Russian roulette with the “lambs’” to mimic power and “play god” in an evolving international arena.

 

This is Agni from "Heaven, Earth, and Hell."

This is Agni from “Heaven, Earth, and Hell.”

 

I explore examples and products of this new entrance of innovation in my works of art to simply “place a mirror in front of humanity” and realize our own personal fantasies, dreams, and utopia each with its own opposing forces (phobias, stress, violence, harsh realities, and dystopia). The appealing luxuries of life and materialism is transcendent yet valuable, but has expanded the range of mediums to utilize in the creation of art. Video games offer an escape for gamers to enter their own personal romantic fantasy residing in their vision of a utopia. Reality television has shifted the spotlights onto the personal lives of celebrities, adding this significance to popular culture and encouraging consumers to mimic these highly-valued and wealthy artists. Casinos will even make environmental changes to mask the sense of time to create this illusion of an ideal world of slot machines, flashing colorful lights, the sounds of coins, and that dire hope profit from the chance of jackpots. We consistently appeal to that anthropologically common instinct of acquisition with the loitering awareness of coexisting natural dualities–such as life and death, war and peace, rich and poor, and love and hate–a human phenomenon of securing power, to guarantee survival, self-preservation, and to ensure reproduction.

 

Here's the "kawaii" infused rendition of HelloKitty with peculiar semenally liquid trails, creating subtle tension by shock value between opposing forces of childlike purity that's innocent and the devilish melancholy of sinful consequences. This idea is often personified in many anime and manga characters, especially with "Magical Girls" genres.

Here’s the “kawaii” infused rendition of HelloKitty with peculiar semenally liquid trails, creating subtle tension by shock value between opposing forces of childlike purity that’s innocent and the devilish melancholy of sinful consequences. This idea is often personified in many anime and manga characters, especially with “Magical Girls” genres.

 

Going back to Japanese aesthetics that has been strongly influenced by Buddhism, the nature of world possesses extreme dualities much like the yin and yang philosophy. The seemingly growth of knowledge and therefore power continuously develop humanity towards a certain fantasy-derived utopia, but the looming dystopia reigns over reality and transforms the opposing forces in battle to a matter of gambling risks. As life expectancies become larger, the global population continues to explode, and human progression becomes increasingly artificial, the diminishing natural resources proved to be a worthy example of the extreme dualities that resides in everything. As the austere and permanent innovations of technology grow, the more the culturally specific aesthetics homogenize with others made possible by transnational sharing and globalization. This ephemeral melting pot of transnational visual culture foreshadows an uncertain future with less human independence consumed by non-worldly things.

 

A triptych I've completed in 2011 portraying the heaven ruler and the hell king facing the "self-portrait" of myself accompanied by my associative avatar the pink octopus. With these dualities directly apparent, an unclear yet understood image of Buddha and Buddhist iconography tower over all three realms as one unified utopic philosophy.

A triptych I’ve completed in 2011 portraying the heaven ruler and the hell king facing the “self-portrait” of myself accompanied by my associative avatar the pink octopus. With these dualities directly apparent, an unclear yet understood image of Buddha and Buddhist iconography tower over all three realms as one unified utopic philosophy.

 

Presently these melting pots of visual culture produces one complete entity of its own unique identity, reflects contemporary issues, fluctuating trends, cultural attitudes, social adjustments, sensibilities, religious evolution, the metamorphosis of, the reversal of dualities, and anthropological development. Ultimately in hopes of bettering mankind, working towards a vision of the ideal world that creates a type of utopia while pursuing power through ephemeral void engulfed by luxuries of materialism. Blinded by alluring ambitions, its gain may equal a demise that would force humanity back to surviving in its most primal and truthful condition. This fleeting existence of materialism has found its way into visual symbols of status and power according to the exclusivity and superiority of object in possession or commerce, paving a enterprising yet consequential road towards global capitalism and the unsettling potential for the inception of a “unified world” as a perception of an ideal utopia.”

 

Utopia

Utopia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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About Julian Peña

I'm a visual artist and student currently in progress to attaining a Bachelors of Fine Arts. I've been creating fantastical works of art since I was at the age of 13 years old. My work is transcendent beyond the material world and life itself. The paintings are polychromatic and visually exciting, while still maintaining a level of harmony. The subjects in many of these works of art may not exist at all despite what we perceive. It is a play on perception, an attempt to engage the viewers. I has earned numerous scholarships, participated in several group exhibitions, and already organized my own solo exhibition (CMYK, 2011). My meticulous and unique style is visually arresting. New ideas are constantly being examined and then visually communicated. Come check out my works at www.julianpena.com! I am is also currently part of the 253 Collective (a co-op) in downtown Tacoma. I currently live and work out of my loft in downtown Tacoma, WA.

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