Dave Pollot is a traditional artist in that he paints on canvas, board, and even pottery. But when you look at his imaginative work, you'll see how very non-traditional he is: Pollot takes older, unwanted paintings and makes them new and smile-worthy again by inserting pop culture characters into the frame.
Better yet, Pollot matches the style of the original artist, a head-turning feat that makes you peruse the work more thoughtfully than you might have otherwise. I've never double-taked (double-took?) more frequently as I did when looking at Pollot's delightful art. Is that a freakin' Sharknado twisting its way through an otherwise tranquil field?
Yes. Yes, it is.
His inspiration came from the time-honored source of trying to impress a girl.
Pollot said, "In 2010 I met [my girlfriend, now wife] Becca. She's an avid thrifter, and she dragged me to thrift stores. I didn't enjoy those trips initially, but I wanted to spend time with her, so I went along."
They noticed that paintings in thrift stores were always stacked on the floors, up against the walls, mostly neglected. They joked that perhaps the artwork would sell better if they painted something funny on the canvas. Pollot said, "It was less than a week when [Becca] came home with a couple of backgrounds." After seeing how well new paint took to the old canvas, "I was instantly hooked," he said.
In the last seven years, Pollot has reinvented approximately 300 pieces, which celebrates his love of both art and fandom. Of all of those works, his current favorite is a homage to the Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor."
"On a black-and-white painting, I painted a tear in the sky, and behind that tear, I painted a continuation of [Vincent Van Gogh's] 'Starry Night.' In this particular case there was an existing reflection in the water, and that was more toward the center of the painting. I needed to extend the 'Starry Night' section, so I got to imagine what the sky might look like beyond [Van Gogh's original work]. It was a lot of fun," he said.
But no matter how much he loves the source material, not all of Pollot's paintings have been a success. "It's been trial and error," he said. For example, "When I started, I was impatient, so I would dive right in and start painting. I was painting an AT-AT into a funky background, and I made the head too small." He had to start over. In other words, impatience led to suffering.
"I've gotten better at planning," Pollot said.
With only a few university classes in art, Pollot is mostly self-taught. But no matter how talented he is, he would be unable to produce his sly, fine art parodies without his not-so-secret weapon — his wife, Becca.
"She's the one who makes sure the paintings find their way to people who buy them. She's does all of the research on what galleries we might seek out. She curates all the the shows. She makes sure emails get answered. I'm notoriously bad at answering emails or text messages."
There is one important way that Pollot is diligent: He researches the paintings he purchases.
"My favorite things to paint into are kitschy reproductions or mass-produced landscapes that came from a factory in China. I do take every precaution. It's not that I want to paint over something that's very valuable. I want to make sure I'm respecting the original artist."
Get to know Dave a bit better below: