L. Ron Hubbard (2007)

Update I decided it needed a little more work, here’s the new version.



acrylic on canvas 600mm x 600mm

Much of my work deals with the notion of ‘reputation’ – which aspects of a persons life are recorded for posterity, and which are not. Frequently what someone is remembered for has little bearing on their character, and in the vast majority of cases, history records but a few scant details.

In some cases, the ‘truth’ about an individual is massaged into a more acceptable form to suit the cultural, political or ethical framework of a changing society. In the case of L Ron Hubbard, and the followers of his religion, The Church of Scientology, there is an orchestrated campaign to create a mythical history about the man which would support his position as the faultless father of their movement.

For the record, I consider all religions in much the same manner, and certainly wouldn’t claim that a more recently invented religion is any less valid than one that was invented thousands of years ago – they are all preposterous, but they clearly provide a useful crutch for ‘believers’. When you get down to it, Scientology is no more ludicrous than Mormonism.

L Ron Hubbard was a science-fiction writer. He has been accused of many things at odds with the story disseminated by the Church. It is precisely the fact that he is a character undergoing a campaign of reputation-cleansing which makes him so fascinating – undoubtedly all religious figures from Jesus to Bhudda have had their stories modified over the years to suit the motivations of their followers – but in the case of L Ron, this is happening in our lifetime.

I recorded a timelapse movie of the creation of this painting:



3 Comments

  • Danny Hope says:

    This inspires me work on some ideas for painting I’ve had. Nice one.

  • sacha says:

    What a fat fuck! Looks a little like Larry Flynt.

    Again, you honour the unworthy with your portrait.

  • Sophia Passmore says:

    I love to see the development of the image, the way it emerges in front of our eyes. What I particularly like is that the surface is lit so well and consistently over time. Is it natural lighting? Great job and I hope to see more in the future.

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