POP EXISTENTIALISM IN ART

THE SUPER DEEP THEORY

The Superdeep Theory is a post-existential, post-confluential, post-global, post-Freudian, postmortem art movement and body aesthetic of work, founded by the artist Rafael Lanfranco whose themes are super deeply influenced by the  profound archetypal narrative of pop cultural Jungian psychology and pop culture media production and characters.

Super Deep Art (flashlight required)

Dieselpunk Mechs

Original work and art prints

Urban Art Toys

Limited edition art sculptures

Dieselpunk Robots

Limited edition art prints

WAKO Art

All the WAKOs by categories

Limited Edition Art Toys
The Three WAKO animals

Super Deep Thoughts (really, really deep)

art toys
Playtime at the Art Gallery
The Rise of Art Toys
A Dieselpunk Art Odyssey
A dieselpunk narrative with robotic characters
Cute Kawaii Art
Evolving into an art toy-like creature!
World-building art
the Super Deep Imaginary World
Interview with Experimenta Magazine
Steampunk, kawaii, manga and Peru
How to make art toys
The Story of WAKO.webo

POP-EXISTENTIALISM & THE SUPER DEEP THEORY

ART ABOUT EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

by Jonathan Clark

Rafael Lanfranco’s work revolves around the creation of characters that serve as metaphors of the emblematic psychological, mythological and archetypal processes of our time as an attempt to explore the nature of consciousness and the purpose of existence, both at the collective level and at the individual level. This, under the understanding that a constant pursuit of answers to the questions such as…

pop existentialism in art

“WHO AM I? WHAT SHOULD I BE? WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

…in our space and time endow a powerful sense of purpose that makes life tolerable. The artist’s search is flooded with references of “pop” culture, animation, fantasy, science fiction, from which he “drank” for a good part of his childhood and early youth, and that deeply influences him until today. He finds that their narrative and aesthetic expressions function as a reinterpretation of the most classic and archaic myths.

And if they are reinterpretations, how do they change the ideas? How do these sugar-coated mythologies answer our existential questions in new ways? When we turn to pop songs and popcorn flicks for the spiritual balms once taken from the shaman, philosopher, or guru, how do we change? What is the human condition as described through the frames of the comic book’s page? And can we bring back the much older stories to speak through these new mouths?

TENETS OF POP EXISTENTIALISM

The relationship between the images of pop culture and the gods of past civilizations is well-tread territory. The general consensus is that the former compares poorly to the latter. But this knee-jerk retrospective snobbery glides over the question with actual stakes: what are the new heroes teaching us about ourselves?

No amount of pretension can prevent the spell of pop culture from working its magic. Pepsi is everywhere. But such spellwork is the artist’s gift as well. So the artist recreates these tellings, reinforcing the pop images with the ancient archetypes that they emerged from. A circling back to get answers.

Lanfranco’s recombination emphasizes the universal in both sets of images. This allows us to look at each set with new levity and profundity. And that dichotomy is the ultimate mission of pop existentialism: fluff with heft, shimmer with substance.

 

A definition of existentialism always leaves the reader empty. One can describe the philosophical tradition and lose the spiritual impulse to understand ourselves. Conversely, one can describe that spiritual impulse and lose philosophy. But what is existentialism if not philosophical analysis guided to these questions of a personal, spiritual nature? That intangibility mirrors pop messages. One can over analyze the narrative and obscure ideological elements and lose the collective, euphoric experience. And of course, one can do the reverse. With existentialism, as with pop, the two sides are difficult to analyze in tandem. Neither half lends itself to the logic of the other.

 

That is where art can thread the two. Lanfranco’s work stitches the worlds back into place, allowing an aesthetic experience to whisper in its own wordless way.

pop existentialism in art

Lanfranco’s reference material is universal — the great inheritance of the human condition itself as well as the passing commercial visions purveyed in our culture at the time — and yet the topics are individual. The answers sought are individually lived, personally realized. Yet another dichotomy to the bridge.

POP EXISTENTIALISM VS NIHILISM

The resulting message is profoundly redemptive. Whereas most encounters with pop are nihilist messages — proclaiming the realm of pop as corrosive, hollow, and motivated — pop existentialism battles for answers in the same terrain. The realm of pop that pervades the world around us is then able to provide, to nurture. This redemption through Lanfranco’s art turns a bleak media landscape into a fecund one, teaching us how to read pop and teaching pop how to speak to us.

pop existentialism in art