New York-based artist Dave Pollot uses all kinds of funny pop culture references to give playful new meanings to old thrift store paintings. We first featured his work back in February, where Star Wars ships and LEGO blocks made their way into vintage landscapes. Since then, the artist has produced many new creations filled with funny details like Mario Kart characters driving down a peaceful dirt road or the Ecto-1 Ghostbusters car parked quite conspicuously in the middle of a grassy field.
“I’ve always loved to paint, however I’ve found that my attention span is often outweighed by my eagerness to learn and master some new thing,” explains Pollot. “Repurposing old thrift art has become something of an answer to this problem. The challenge of perfectly blending my additions to their new surroundings keeps my attention, and it makes me (and hopefully others) laugh.”
Many of these hilarious creations are available for purchase through Pollot’s Etsy Shop.
Update: We had the fortunate opportunity to ask the artist a few questions about his work. Be sure to check out that fun interview, below.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I grew up in a small town called Palmyra (east of Rochester, NY) and for as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to paint. I also loved math, science, and language, and so I decided to pursue a degree in computer science at SUNY Geneseo. I started writing software professionally in 2003 and painted every so often for many years until I met my fiancee four years ago. That’s where this story really begins…
How and why did you start working on thrift store paintings?
My fiancee has a pretty unhealthy obsession with thrift stores, which means of course, that I was constantly being dragged along. We always noticed the artwork, i.e., the prints your grandmother once had hanging in her house, and often joked that I should start painting silly things into them. She came home one day with one such piece, and I never looked back. I get bored very easily, and this has been something of an answer to this problem. It keeps my attention and each one provides a unique challenge. Above all, it’s just fun.
Tell us about your process–how do you select the paintings that you will work on?
It’s really just a knee-jerk reaction that I’ll have to the painting, i.e., “Yep, I can do something with this.” Once I have something selected, and I know what I’m going to do, I’ll either sketch it out or just dive in. Lately, I’ve been spending a bit more time planning them out, which involves multiple sketches, but initially I’d just start painting and hope I didn’t make a mistake. Regardless, each painting has great beer(s) behind it.
Do you have an instant idea or does the concept develop after you purchase the artwork? Do you like to stick to a particular theme?
It’s really both. Sometimes I’ll know instantly what I’m going to do, and some paintings hang on my basement walls for months (or years) before I do anything with them. Consequently, my beer cellar (which is really just a dark room) is adjacent to the walls that these hang on.
How long does it take you to produce a painting?
It really depends. I paint on nights and weekends, so I often lose track of the time I’ve spent, but it ranges from one late night to six…
What’s the most rewarding part of the process?
The overwhelming fame and wheelbarrows of money that just appear with each new piece. (chuckles to self). <– This is a joke! Honestly, the most rewarding part of the process is the process itself. Simply put, I just love to paint. Music or podcast (I love indie folk and RadioLab) on, craft beer in hand, new paint/brushes on old abandoned thrift art. I remember the experience of each one.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m a software engineer during the day and geeky pop culture comes with the territory. It provides a lot of the context for my stuff. Aside from that, I’m inspired by smart and creative people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to keep doing this as long as I enjoy it. It’s a scary thing to think of making my passion my livelihood, but perhaps some day I’ll paint more and write software less? Who knows. It’s Friday, and what’s next for me is probably a night of painting space invaders or Optimus Prime into an unsuspecting piece of thrift art.