william tells: the naked lunch

colourful mirror portrait

William S. Burroughs life was transformed the moment he raised his gun to play the ‘William Tell game’ with his wife, Joan Volmer. This singular ill-judged moment fuelled by alcohol destroyed so much. As Joan’s lifeless body lay sprawled on the floor, her gin glass that she held on her head seconds ago tumbled undamaged beside her. For the godfather of punk, genius wordsmith and inventor of the ‘cut up’ writing technique, this moment catapulted him into a new realm. William S. Burroughs, gay icon, experimental and psychic adventurer emerged. Not that Burroughs was not any of these previously, but he claims that this moment compelled him to commence his seminal work, The Naked Lunch. From this time, he pulled away from domesticity, fatherhood, marriage and any form of tradition he may have attempted to uphold to meet expectations. He became true to himself.

This painting depicts Burroughs’ face magnified by the gin glass as Joan places it upon her head. His eyes peer unknowingly into the future.

If you find the lives of others as intriguing as I do, visit my art narrative page.

This piece had finer details sandblasted into the front surface before applying black enamel linework to the reverse side of the glass. Coloured acrylic was then airbrushed over the linework, before flipping the glass and laying it over mirror and framed so the two plates are slightly offset.

83cm x 83cm  |  10.1kg
Glass over mirror with slim black frame holding the two layers apart. Strung and ready to hang.
Available for viewing

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