Joey Feldman is well-known to the readers of Gonzo Today. His drawings and paintings are generally disturbing, sometimes annoying. But they have genuine artistic merit, and tend to stick in one’s mind.
I’m still getting over his depiction of Jim Morrison that he was kind enough to do for one of my stories on the Doors. The Lizard King has snake eyes and fangs twisted at all angles, as well as green scales. Perhaps not coincidentally, the story “Driving with the Doors” is one of the most popular GT has run. (End self-promo.)
I’m looking at his latest, titled The Great Red Shark.
It’s outstanding, really, if deeply demented and bothersome. For one thing it’s a severely mutated version of the original 1971 Chevy Impala convertible from the book and movie of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Now, The Shark is an important component of the story. In some ways, it’s a character all its own. Rented by Hunter Thompson off the Sunset Strip, The Shark is how he and Dr. Gonzo aka Oscar Zeta Acosta get to Vegas. Operated by both men in states of various forms of extreme inebriation, the classic opening scene of the book takes place in this vehicle.
Feldman has seen fit to take a number of artistic liberties with his depiction of the car, perhaps seeking to avoid litigation, or maybe it’s just sheer cussedness.
In any case, Feldman’s version sports gigantic rear fins, resembling a ’59 Caddy, but more extreme. There’s some Batmobile in there. It’s pretty grotesque.
Then there’s the low-rider wheels, the pointed chrome, and the eyelashes on the headlights. Eyelashes! Man, that’s a touch that never would have occurred to me. There’s a razor edge between genius and mania, here.
There are also the usual disturbing elements in Feldman’s work, like a skull that seems to be a cross between human and steer, sporting a glaring eye. The monster obligatory bats, of course, and a hideous scorpion/crab leering at the viewer.
From the cactus, I’m assuming the huge city in the background is Vegas. By the way, saguaro cactus don’t actually grow in Nevada. But no matter. It’s in context. Ralph Steadman had them as well, of course.
A bit of Googling reveals that Feldman recently hawked prints via the Bottleneck Gallery in New York of this monstrosity for 45 bucks a pop on his limited run of 75. Since the Gallery sold all 75 of these babies, he’s making substantial bucks off of the stuff. (And since he’s already sold ’em all, I can’t be accused of being a shill, which is a relief.)
Whoa! And I was gonna treat him to drinks at the Polo Lounge?
I’ll meet ya there, Joey, but the tab is on you.
For additional distressing visuals, click
by Kyle K. Mann
July 6, 2017