Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Artist Paul Wilson

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ARTIST OF THE MONTH
When photos of Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest were plastered across newspapers in 1963, most Americans felt anger and outrage. Paul Wilson’s reaction was very different: “He’s cute,” thought Wilson, who later produced more than 100 videos starring “Wee Harvey Oddball,” a Mini-Me version John F. Kennedy’s assassin. 

 

Wilson, 47, a set designer for local community theaters, creates intricate, bizarre scenes for the videos, featuring ’50s-style furniture and 10-inch-tall action figures. The result resembles a slightly sinister combination of Leave It to Beaver and The Surreal Life. In “Paul and Wee Harvey Oddball have a Cocktail Party,” Paul and Wee entertain celebs, including Cher, KISS, Dolly Parton and a hairy-chested Anderson Cooper. Wilson engineers authentic voices for the characters and records them with a Flip HD video camera.  

Wilson concedes there is some shock value to his art, but the Arcadia-area resident says his Oswald is a very separate character from the infamous sniper. “I juxtapose him with things that are cute and good, from little kittens to lollipops,” says the Arizona State University studio art grad. “It’s borderline controversial, but art should be controversial and provoking.” As Oswald himself says in “Lee, on Paul and Lee,” “It’s freaky, but then so is Paul.” 

See Wee online at ow.ly/5tlQR or at the People’s Biennial, which opens October 15 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, 480-994-2787, smoca.org).

 

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