CMoA First Experience

Made by sxv

To visit an art gallery and experience a work of art in person

Created: October 6th, 2015


The Work

As soon as I entered the more modern section of the gallery, this painting was the one that caught my eye the most. With it's insanely bright and vivid colors, it was impossible to ignore.

Created by Peter Saul in 1969, Mr. Welfare is an acrylic on canvas artwork that was a social commentary for the time. Although I am not familiar with the political goings-on and social balance of the era, the imagery that was portrayed was not difficult to understand.

My phone's camera isn't too good, but below is an image of it


Experience and Response

However big and full a room is, this painting will immediately catch the eye. It is quite large and dominating, it is supposed to be a loud and bold statement which it is very successful at.

My first feeling was that of vomit. The sickeningly vivid colors are unlike anything you are used to, it is quite a color scheme to behold. The various shades of pink, green, red, and blue clash so violently that you almost want to look away due to their unsettling nature. They scream into your eyes, telling you to turn, but the subject locks your vision onto itself.

The painting does a wonderfully deliberate job of wandering your eye over its entirety. After the middle subject of the man with his genitals sticking out of his trousers, there is an obvious path that Saul wants you to take. It starts from the upper right corner, cuts across the center and upper portion of the painting to the left side, and then brings you finally to the bottom of the painting. This obvious path is a representation of what Saul believed to be a "conveyor belt-like" situation, leading you from one place and inevitably depositing you into another predetermined place.

There is so much to talk about and unravel, but the main focus of the painting was to criticize the "new forms of social welfare legislation". Graduating students, from poor to wealthy, were all subject to the disgusting system before them. 



Above is the result of my attempt to capture my experience in an image format.

Using Photoshop, I started off with a base of puke green on a splotchy brush and spread it all over the canvas to simulate as if I had thrown up all over the image. When I first experienced the disgusting colors of the painting, that was certainly what I wanted to do.

I then followed that up with a brush of pure red (0xff0000) and drew the line of what my eyes followed on the painting. I emphasized the starting point by creating a larger splotch and showing that the rest of the line followed after the initial starting point. The line is also a loop in that after going through it, you end up right back where you started and you are meant to keep wandering throughout it. The line is pure red to symbolize the anger that I felt coming from the painting. The splotchy texture is there to simulate blood and reflect the ocean of it that was in the work.

After that, I added stripes of black to both symbolize censoring the offensive content of the original painting and to reinforce the bold contrasts of the original painting. I experienced the work in very distinct sections, so creating bold black stripes to create sections to it only seemed logical.


Before going to the CMoA, I had never been to a proper art gallery. I had been to exhibits for science and history, but my family and I were never the kind to explore galleries and installations. This was a completely new experience for me and I actually spent a lot longer there than I had first anticipated. Besides Mr. Welfare, there were several other paintings that left an impression on me, but it was the one that captured my attention the most. It was quite an experience having it loom before me and slap me with its bold and grotesque existence. I would never have seen the painting or even known of its existence if it weren't for this assignment. It was an unexpectedly fulfilling experience, at least for me.

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To visit an art gallery and experience a work of art in person