Chris Norris
“Baby Hamburger Blossom”
Ink and Watercolor on Paper

Baby Hamburger Blossom, Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 12"x9", 2014

Artist Statement  

The Hamburger Head was an obedient child. Big 8 hotdogs and Borden cheese were lovingly fed to him on toothpicks. Curious, bright–and just a little bit spoiled–he enjoyed dancing a jig to Hee-Haw at seven on a Saturday night. He knew he was a good boy but sometimes wanted to dress as a girl. Ever sensitive to his chubby breast, he always wore his shirt while swimming. One day he climbed onto a yellow bus. It was filled with older children. Mean children. On the bus he was taunted and hurt and became quiet, then shy. The mean children christened him Hamburger Head, the sour king of the lonely fat.

Thirty years passed and the Hamburger Head became quite large. He resided in a hillside as a ball of raw meat with piercing eyes and a scalloped frown. Muscles failed him because they did not grow. Hostility seethed from his fat. He grew to be very demanding with want and desire. He yearned to satisfy an insatiable appetite. Sweet and salty fulfillment was what he dreamed about. The Hamburger Head then became a drunk. He would mumble and snore and stew. He spewed his philosophies and opinions at all who passed by. Often the villagers near his hill would ridicule the Hamburger Head for being a sarcastic baby. He would become angry and his fat would boil. The smelly juice would dribble and run down channels in his blemished face. The villagers would slip and slide and roll down the hill cackling and crying. Finally they left him alone and he felt nothing.

At thirty-six I realized that I was emotionally and physically derelict; that in fact I felt nothing. My work was desperate, bare-boned, and brittle. I needed redemption. So I started to dig into my conscience. I began to create the narrative surrounding the Hamburger Head. At first I felt that my story was too insular and personal. As the work began to develop an exploration of ambition, ideals, technique, and craft emerged. I am very interested in the mechanics of creating an image with line and color. But a pretty image is nothing without pathos.

I had to beg myself for permission to create work that talks about my place in the world. My value system had an identity crisis. I sought to make for the sake of making. My new work reflects the observations of my own fractured life.  I do not know if it is appropriate for an artist to explore their self-worth. That almost seems hackneyed to me. In the past I wanted to be above that. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be vindicated.  But all of that need and indignation was the result of wounded pride. In the end that is part of the story of the Hamburger Head.



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