Nostalgic for the ‘90s? Alex Coronel Creates a Pop-Culture ‘Cluster-Fuck’
“Mmm, good Squishee.”
Fans of The Simpsons’ canonical years (seasons two through eight—fight us) will instantly recognize Springfield’s off-brand Slurpee in Alex Coronel’s chaotic work.
Brimming with yellow limbs and Hello Kitty cartoons, Alex’s mixed-media paintings pile on pop-culture imagery with wild abandon. “Repetition in my process doesn’t come easy for me,” he says of his work. “I welcome, embrace, and at times, crave change.” That doesn’t mean Ms. Kitty won’t pop up in unexpected places or that you’ll go without your Simpsons fix for long.
“When I started to notice certain imagery and characters repeating themselves in my work, I felt I had to catch ‘em all before they disappeared,” Alex explains. “They’re sometimes small and perhaps unnoticeable, but they help ground myself and possibly the viewer in this otherwise psychotic […] funhouse I call my work.”
Settling into a mindset he imagines as “the opposite of a meditative brain,” Alex collects bits and pieces of a scattered psyche and strews it across the canvas. What results is “a cluster-fuck” of medicated all-nighters, algebra textbook vandalism, and ‘90s sitcom streaming marathons. Millennials will find plenty to love here. Alex hides a whole basket’s worth of Gen Y-approved Easter eggs in his collage-style work, a nostalgic thrill for kids who grew up reading I Spy and Where’s Waldo?
Here’s a taste of the pop-culture cornucopia: cartoon dynamite, sick decks, blocky Zippo lighters, Homer Simpson’s iconic white work shirt. The cold, syrupy treat in “Good Squishee” (above) is known to cause hallucinations at high doses (see season five episode “Boy Scoutz ’n the Hood”). Alex embraces the sugary trip, a mad scientist mixing and mashing Sanrio furries with psychedelic lighting bolts and pink spray paint. Cherry Super Squishee, please—made entirely from syrup.
“Repetition in my process doesn’t come easy for me. I welcome, embrace, and at times, crave change.” — Alex Coronel
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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