Banksy, Homer, Paris

So I’ve been a fan of this guy since he painted cows for a 2003 exhibition called Turf War. Now that I know he paints cheetahs…damn this guys is awesome.

I was big into Levinthal, Mondrian and Klein at the time; very interested in art that bordered on not art. I found the notion of painting Andy Warhol’s face repeatedly on an animal to be so cool and creative, and at the same time turning what we’ve known an accepted upside down. It an unparalleled expression of ‘the medium is the piece,’ that it was part of my inspiration—along with beer and pork rinds—when I carved Homer Simpson out of a 10lb block of cheese using only kitchen knives.

The Cornell Dairy had me provided with two 10lb blocks (since I asked for one 20lb block). I had passed this whole ordeal off as the coming together of the Hotel School, the Ag School and Arts and Sciences.

They bought it.

The hardest part was actually acquiring such a large amount of cheese that I could effectually carve. It took weeks of planning and emails and meetings. I came to believe that the cheese I received was cultured especially for the project. One of the Chefs at the hotel school was not happy wth the project.

“Cheese is an unforgiving canvas,” he said, all too knowingly. “Try going with butter.”

But cheese was not chosen arbitrarily. The object of the assignment was to create a portrait. THe prof went around the class, to responses, of ‘brother,’ ‘mom,’ ‘dad,’ and one of ‘unborn baby sister.’ whoa. When I said Homer Simpson, she stopped and asked why.

“Because,” I replied, “there’s a little of all of us in Homer; and a little Homer in all of us.” When asked if I had a favorite episode, the answer was obvious: I began to tell the tale of when he came down stairs in the middle of the night and got 64 slices of American cheese out of the fridge, sat down and consumed each slice, counting down, one by one. Smithers and Burns were suctioned to the ceiling at the time. I thought it as one of the funniest things I’d ever seen on TV. After I recounted the memory, students around the class began to discuss their favorite Homer moments. In room full of of intelligent Ivy League students, almost everyone had a Homer Simpson memory. Even the pretty girls from the sororities. It was then I decided, that I would carve Homer out of Cheese.

Once I actually obtained the block of cheese, the carving part was easy. I drank few cold miller lites (ie Duffs) and did it in a couple hours from memory.

Of course, once I presented Homer in Cheese at an informal gallery, I could not throw him away. Both the spare 10lb block and Homer ended up residing in the fridge for a few weeks, until my housemates began to complain of the stench of carved cheese and lack of space for cheap beer.

What was I to do?

In the midst of an egging prank by some friends, which may get detailed here later, the spare block got carved with some initials and put on a front porch to rot in the sun. At a party at that particular house a few nights later, a large—now frozen—block of cheese was hurled at my chest.

I had neglected to realize that this particular household had two individuals with the exact same intials which were carved upon said cheese. The two guys later told me they had a hell of a time figuring out exactly what this omen was. I envisioned it somewhat like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I believe it was an inevitable chain of events from deducing the block was in fact a sizeable block of cheese to the knowledge that I had somehow acquired a large amount of aged, amalgamated milk curds. I’m not sure if the decision to freee the cheese was made with the intent of assualt, or simple indecisiveness, but in the my friends’ freezer was were it was placed.

Back at the party, the frozen cheese nearly knocked the wind out of me, and upon hitting the floor, the enormous block cleaved into two oblong 5lb blocks.

The pieces of cleaved cheese were subsequently picked up by me and the assailant and used in a battle a la Robin Hood and Little John in “Men in Tights.”

It made perfect sense at the time.

My piece was the first to break resulting in my attacker’s now 5lbs of frozen cheese colliding with my teeth, catching my lip in between.

I proceeded to bleed profusely and still bear a barely noticeable scar.

What happened to the remains of cheese after the battle remains a mystery. We were, I think, too drunk to care. What happened to Homer in Cheese? I mailed him off and enclosed a hand written note signed with nothing but an email address to Fox Headquarters c/o Matt Groening.

Never did hear anything back…

You see, Banksy’s art takes our culture and throws it back in our face, much like my I got ploughed in the face by a frozen block of cheese not fit for human consumption.

Banksy’s latest prank involves about 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s CD, Paris. Really, where did she come up with that title? The prank was a devious stunt in which he replaced the cover art with photo of her topless, filled the booklet with questions, and inserted his own sample disc featuring his own song titles like, “Why am I Famous?” and “What have I done?” The link to what he did is NSFW, but it is art right? You wouldn’t get fired for regarding a link on the Venus de Milo, right?

That is not to compare Paris to Venus, they’re both just topless a lot

Question is, though, does someone who’s made millions spray painting rats across London the right person to question what Paris Hilton has done with her life? I like his work and think he is indeed justified. But, then again, the stars are blind…


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