The Kim series started with a photo Kim Kardashian put on her Instagram, dated 15 May 2018, of her sucking a red lollipop. But it’s not just an actual lollipop, it’s an appetite suppressant and she was paid to do so. There is a very similar picture of her holding a lipstick, i.e. they’re photoshopped the lipstick onto the old picture. Genius.
The image is Mona Lisa for this generation, whatever generation we’re on now. Seductive, unattainable, knowing. Yet the Mona Lisa is not an advert, and it’s not promoting weight loss. The mystery of the Mona Lisa does not hinge on whether she had a flat tummy or not.
And yet… is the Kim Kardashian image beautiful? Is it alluring? Why do I want to paint it repeatedly? To make it better; to make it all go away? The photo is still up on Instagram, albeit with a different caption. Captions eh.
I recently started painting with matt emulsion – along with oils and acrylics – household paint. The Kim series started using these so-called “heritage” colours. Muted greys, greens and off-whites that both sell an ideal of home comfort and traditional; but soon become familiar. The images on Kardashian’s feed are as fed to us (and it is called a “feed”) as everyday images. They are invited into our home. But they are not everyday, they are staged, photoshopped, weird, solipsistic nonsense. How is this the new normal? And can we take anything actually good from it?
And it’s not like no one’s noticing. This person, this human, this entrepreneur has millions of people (yeah, followers) watching her every, choreographed move.
Unless it is all actually OK and I’ve got it all wrong.