The inspiration behind the painting was Halloween 1986 when I went as Metroplex. You could tell who I was because the costume had a picture of Metroplex on the chest and said, "Metroplex." My first impulse was to paint a child's Lennie Briscoe costume, but I've played the Lennie card perhaps too often. Who, I asked my soul, is the grossest and least appropriate subject for a mass-produced child's Ben Cooper costume? And Soul replied, "Philip Seymour Hoffman."
I started by looking through old family photos for shots like these to use as reference:
While sketching it out, I considered adding other kids too:
I decided against that because 1) I did not want to look at that crayon kid's face all the time, and 2) I decided I wanted more of a lonely/creepy vibe, and the extra kids cluttered it up and made it more of a "Which of these things is not like the other" piece.
I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the making of this important masterwork. I also hope you will take a look at my other updates, which include some wacky new shirts.