During one of countless viewings of Casablanca, I wondered why on earth I had not yet completed a piece related to the film. Immediately afterward, I wondered no more and got to work; it was time to give Ilsa and Rick the full Mod Pop Art treatment. Color always plays an important role in my work, but often it is purely aesthetic; in this case, I wanted to use color quite deliberately. I noticed that Ilsa is melancholy throughout the majority of the film, while Rick is downright angry. So I thought it would be appropriate to make Ilsa blue, literally ... and Rick would naturally be red. This is no groundbreaking use of color; in fact, it's about as basic as it gets: blue = sad, red = mad. But there are a few more layers to it. Due to their obvious deeply important connection to France, I wanted to lay out the piece to be an abstract depiction of the French flag - blue, white, red, left to right. Finally, rather than a solid color background like I often do, I thought this piece deserved something more, but I wanted to use something that appears on the surface to be merely decorative but is actually an extremely important element of the story; thus, true Casablanca aficionados will notice the background was based on the ornate design on the piano Sam plays in Rick's Café Américain. The result is one of my favorite works to date.
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