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Artist Envy: Jordan Speer

Recently my friend Trevor Thomas, an old pal from my stint in Bowling Green Penitentiary (A.K.A. Greenwood High School – man I miss those tractor pulls), emailed me to rant about something else I was missing out on while ditching the east coast in favor of sandy beaches. This time his message subject was Jordan Speer, an artist who grew up in our old shared hometown of Bowling Green, KY. Speer is one of those flowers from the sidewalk crack. He’s the Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” album you find among the heap of Engelbert Humperdinck and Christmas compilation records at Goodwill. He’s an insane talent who doesn’t seem to fit in with his surroundings. Bowling Green is a great town full of rolling green hills, ridiculously awesome college pride, fabulous country constitutions and character, and an opulence of fast food restaurants. But it can be a hard place to try and make a wave artistically.

Speer is making waves nonetheless, and doesn’t care whose boats are rocked by it. Speer does a variety of digital art, illustration and charcoal drawings. The subject matter is always an irreverent take on a serious issue. That’s not to say his meaning or story behind the art is irreverent or even cheeky, it’s just what he does, and who can really say what he’s trying to say through it. Across the board his works all share an incredible attention to detail. Some pieces are surreal with iconic imagery being twisted into amusing presentations. His series “Pop Hell” looks like Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgment x Andy Warhol + Willy Wonka’s color aesthetic. It’s grim and bright and funny and almost looks like freeze frames from a claymation stop-motion film.

For more of Speer’s work, visit www.beefstrong.com.

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