Chris Consani’s iconic art work centers around memorializing the 1940s and 50s. His subject matter is similar in style and content to pulp fiction but his superb artistry takes the genre to a new level. What is relevant here, however, is that some of his paintings appear to contain puzzles. The paintings in question involve two or more of the following subjects, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Humphrey Bogart.
In the image below the licence plate reads 8-26-46. I did a little research and found out that August 26th, 1946 is the day Norma Jean changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. While this is the only reference I have taken the time to investigate it is clear that Chris Consani’s other images contain puzzles far more involved and subtle.
Game of Fate: This is the painting that introduced me to Chris Consani’s work. It was hanging in a bathroom in a gas station in Wisconsin. I was immediately struck by the the incredible number of suspicious details. What is the meaning of the brass plaque? Why are there numbers on the wall? What is the meaning of the pictures? Why is the cue ball missing in front of James Dean’s cue? Why is the cue ball on the floor? Why is Elvis holding a cue ball? The longer you look the more you see. It was a long bathroom break.
Chris Cosani has created several of these mystery paintings, filled with unusual details, like the mirror showing James Dean’s hand in the painting below. In five of his paintings I identified over a dozen details in each that stand out as being intentionally unusual.
While I love puzzles it seems likely that the elements of these rooms relate to aspects of the lives of the stars represented. My interest in the lives of stars is minimal and so I have not delved into finding answers for these pictures, but some day I may take the time to do so.