Maureen Vachon

My paintings, colored pencil drawings and figurines employ parody, satire and caricature to view aspects of contemporary life through the lens of black humor. Specific topics range from the experience of illness, the practice of medicine, and domestic life. The great visual satirist Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) impresses me with his expressive use of dark values, as does R.F. Outcault (creator of the Yellow Kid) for his inventive combinations of words and pictures. I also credit the influence of Honore Daumier and Francisco Goya for honing my artistic vision.

Despite its apparent cheerfulness, I have never thought of my work as especially funny. Its caricatured people and animals are not consistently upbeat. Satirists are complex people; since the driving force behind their art is a deep dissatisfaction with the world as it is.

One of my saddest pictures is one many would consider my silliest: "Rise, Weegee, Rise." The image depicts a crowd conducting a surgery being performed in a nightclub setting, and is a tribute to the late photographer Arthur Fellig, who died of a heart attack in 1968. Fellig earned the nickname Weegee for his uncanny ability to arrive at a crime scene before police. The drawing also expresses my fear that satire has become ineffective in effecting positive social change.

Despite some uncertainty, I am also experimenting-by producing a set of figurines based on characters from my drawings and sketchbooks.