It’s been five years since Laurina Paperina has exhibited her work in San Francisco, and boy, did we miss her. As an artist, her attitude is refreshing: “I don’t want to make serious art, you know, the world is bad enough to make sad art. I want to have fun, make people smile and to entertain people with my works.” And she puts her money where her mouth is by toying with the serious art world in her humorous, cartoon style.
I caught up with Paperina as she was putting the finishing touches on her show and got the scoop, “It’s a mix of paintings, drawings, video animation and photos representing ‘loser contemporary heroes.’ In fact, the show is called Proud to be a Hero,” she says. Paperina also painted a large raccoon on the wall of the gallery, and says her show is about showing the human side of heroes.
“Usually the victims of my works are famous-rich-cool artists and celebrities," Paperina explains. "So it’s like saying, ‘Yes, I love you, but I kill you!’ Maybe it’s a little bit of a Freudian meaning. My works about the art world are an encyclopedia of the possible deaths of artists at the hands of their own practices or artworks.” A few of the local San Francisco artists that Paperina loves and jokingly also wants to kill (presumably out of good-natured envy) are Barry McGee, Jeremy Fish and Mike Giant.
Paperina has drawn her whole life, growing up in a small town in Italy where she was inspired by comics. She later “transformed” into her art persona, Laurina Paperina, which translates to “Little Laura, Little Duck,” and claims to be a “strange mutant with human body and duck feet. I have no super power, so I am a fake superhero.”
The artist sums up her work by saying it is “an ironic commentary in response to current events. The pop culture is part of me.” She is full of surprises and her work is a ton of snarky fun. She says her creative endeavors are her “food,” and it shows. You can feel her humor radiate from her work. Paperina lives in New York, so don’t miss this opportunity to check out her show at Fouladi Projects through October 18, 2014. Get a taste of Paperina's twisted humor in the very short animation below. As you will see, even the artist can’t escape her own wrath.
Funding for KQED Arts is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Support is also provided by Yogen and Peggy Dalal, Diane B. Wilsey, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Helen Sarah Steyer, the William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, and the members of KQED