Packaged consumer goods are an ideal subject to explore socio-economic systems. "These carefully manufactured and immaculately finished cartons allude to the powerful (yet invisible) force behind the production and marketing of the products themselves ... they are symbols of the complicated network of demand and supply essential to the formation of a consumerist culture" (MoMA). Product branding – the sophisticated visual language that manipulates our relationship with products – is essentially just strategic placement of colour and text.
Despite consumer's best efforts to "support local", many of Canada’s favourite companies are in fact owned by US mega-corporations. Even wholly-owned Canadian brands only offer the illusion of choice (including Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Valu-mart and Shoppers Drug Mart – all subsidiaries of the Loblaw Companies conglomerate). Brands under the same corporate umbrella sell us the same items at drastically different prices. Corporations benefit from consumer complacency, and furthermore, profit from this type of misaligned brand loyalty and product nationalism.
Christopher uses traditional sign painting techniques to create a false screen print overlay with acrylic paint, which in itself is a critique of the medium (real vs. imposter). Through careful juxtaposition, wordplay, and exaggerated scale, he subverts familiar legacy packaging to make us look closer. The New Pop urges us to think more critically about branding, the Canadian identity, and our everyday consumption.
The original painting has been scanned and reproduced as a 12" x 16" print, printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120lb matte fine art paper using an HP Indigo 7800 Digital Press. Limited quantities available.
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© Christopher Rouleau 2021. All rights reserved.
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