"Greed's Last Feast"

by Arlie Marshall
all rights reserved

This painting is a pro-ecology statement about the greedy billionaires of the Earth and their lack of concern about the destruction of the Earth’s delicate ecosystem, as they consume resources in excess to gain profits, with no regard for the future generations that will have to deal with the mess which is being created.

The character depicted is my interpretation of the grim reaper that usually represents death, roving around wearing a monk’s robe, carrying a scythe to cut down people whose untimely time for death has come. This grim reaper character appeared in artworks in Europe during the Black Death or bubonic plagues; I felt that the end result of global greed would affect the ecology and represent many unnecessary deaths, thus the grim reaper character.

Most grim reapers are shown wearing black robes but I used green to portray a sarcastic reference to greedy political double-talk during a corrupted money-making scheme, as if to say: “Hey folks what I’m doing here is good for you and ME $$$. “

The Earth lying on the plate is, of course, an impossible situation but I needed a symbol that was common to all humans so as to communicate the concept across all social, economic, gender, age, IQ, and ethnic boundaries. The flames in the background are used to imply an unknown place, possibly hell, and Greed’s final destination after he is done with the Earth.

Greed is a human-Earthbound concept so hell suggested by these flames also then represents a warning to those with excessive greedy intentions.The serving platter is to imply a banquet of consumption which the wealthy are accustomed to.

The dollar signs around the platter are my chosen money symbol as dollar signs are recognized world wide. The use of $$$$$$$ on the platter makes clear the intention to non English speaking peoples. The concrete looking table top is an artistic base, neutral in color as a design feature used to not distract from the painting’s theme, while acting as a supporter for all the colors.

I was thinking of outer space when I designed it, which placed Greed in a universal setting to match his size. The Earth is being shown with the Americas side, a common global depiction world wide. Greed is shown cutting slices of the Earth as if it were a living animal, with it’s life juices spilling out, a gruesome murder in progress.

This view of our planet being murdered with malicious intent is a real shock to almost everyone who sees the painting. Some people, in their first look, find instant disgust without analyzing the reason or the obvious statement and symbols. Some religious types think of the painting as the antichrist mentioned in the Bible, or as some sort of demon worship art statement but they totally miss the point. In discussion with them I explain the painting but they usually stick to their first impression. Whoever sees this art form usually does not forget it. So far with limited viewing I have always had some sort of reaction, with the majority understanding the intent and sharing some sort of pro-ecology statement.

I have had two different occasions when this painting has caused people to cry. That is a real first in my lifetime as an artist! This sort of response tells me that this painting is my best piece in my whole lifetime effort as a career artist, possibly a once-in-a-career event. I tried many types of frames and built the painting's current frame as the final solution, as its rather gaudy rococo opulence matched the intention of the Greed character, while demanding attention from the viewing audience. The frame molding was about 35 years old, made in Spain or Belgium, with a rustic look that matches the intentionally aged appearance of the painting.

Click on any of the above images for a closer look. There is much more about this brilliant artist. Research on his complete works is currently underway.

Best known for his "Renaissance Time Capsules" The 30 piece ink and wash on paper inspired by the 15th century Italian artist, scientist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Marshall, who studied da Vinci for more than 25 years, even wrote backward as the Italian artist and scientist did as a way to encrypt his work. Marshall considered himself a multimedia artist, working in a variety of media including stone, metal, wood and bone. A third generation artist having worked with his father and grandfather as an apprentice.

Robert "Arlie" Marshall 1944-1998 - Higher Quality Greed's Last Feast

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July 3, 2012