Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Who's That Girl?": Madonna Fan Illustrations

What must it be like to lose all anonymity, for virtually everyone on the planet to know who you are? And then to have your image not only spread around the world in the media, but plastered onto basically anything, from T-shirts to, well, even collectable thimbles!

Tonight I am going to see Madonna in concert, yes, almost 30 years late. I have to admit that I wasn't really into her music when she first became popular. I liked the songs and the videos, but never dressed like her. It wasn't until the summer of 1991, after a few college years listening to all but mainstream pop music, when I was with a friend in her car and she put an old tape of Madonna's into the cassette player. Those old songs had become nostalgic, and the next day I was buying all the Madonna music I could find, and reading biographies and articles about her. By then I realized it wasn't just about the music. She was/is a cunning businesswoman and a marketing machine, and that's when I wanted to be like her.

Admittedly, I haven't really listened much to Madonna's music since her "Ray of Light" album in the mid-90s. But I jumped at the chance to actually see her without paying triple digits and having to fly to LA or Vegas, because I know the show in general will be good, and the people-watching will be fantastic! I have to see her perform live at least once in my lifetime.

So I started thinking about a Madonna-themed post and knew if I searched the Interwebs for portraits of her done by her fans, I would find a full spectrum of awesome results. There are lots and lots of amazing illustrations of the Material Girl, both professional and amateur, but what I wanted to find were pictures that looked like they were drawn by the bored kid sitting next to me in History class. Or the neighbor girl sitting alone in her room on a Saturday night. While I chuckled when I saw most of these, I'm not really making fun of them. They remind me of paintings you find in the thrift store. I know I drew pictures of a similar Napoleon Dynamite style and quality when I was 10 years old and sent them to "Star Wars" cast members for their birthdays. There is a certain innocence to these drawings, and I celebrate them because the artists were proud enough to post them for all the world to see.

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