Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Blessed Art Thou", 2006, 88' x 60", oil & acrylic on linen (click on images to enlarge)
® Kate Kretz, 2006. All laws of intellectual property apply and will be enforced.
"Blessed Art Thou" was on display in the Chelsea Galleria booth at the Art Miami Fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center, January 5-8th, 2007.

This painting addresses the celebrity worship cycle: each participant in the cycle perpetuates it while pointing a finger elsewhere. The title, “Blessed Art Thou”, is taken from a line in the Catholic prayer “Hail Mary”: “…blessed art thou among women”.

I am interested in the psychological ramifications of celebrity worship, particularly as they relate to class, self-esteem, and consumerism: I created an oppressive psychological space where the consumer is driven to reach for the tabloid, hungry for the escape provided by “information” about the celebrity's private life. Next to images of the "perfect" celebrity are ads for diet pills, aimed at the now-inadequate feeling reader.

Angelina Jolie was chosen as the subject because of her unavoidable presence in the media, the world-wide anticipation of her child's birth, her "unattainable" beauty and the good that she is doing in the world through her example, which adds another interesting layer to the complicated status that celebrities hold in our culture.

The "Virgin" and Zahara figures are loosely based on a Van Dyck Virgin painting, and the Maddox figure is borrowed from a Raphael painting. This painting utilizes imagery that has appeared in previous work, but where I formerly used this visual vocabulary to look inward, here I am responding to the world around me. I don't watch television or read tabloids, and I avoid shopping malls and box stores whenever possible: I believe that my isolation from this kind of exposure allows for a certain perspective that reveals the absurdity of this endless cycle.

The deliberately kitschy top portion of the painting is made up entirely of oil glazes in a traditional Renaissance style, while the bottom portion is acrylic underpainting with many layers of oil glazes.

(ADDENDUM: subsequent to this post, "Blessed Art Thou" was featured in over 30 documented international and 65 domestic newspapers, as well as Vanity Fair Italy and ELLE Japon. Relevant interviews were published in Foam magazine,, and Ilovesecondhandsmoke blog. The work was featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox networks, followed by hundreds of television news sources around the world. The painting continues to be included internationally in university textbooks and classroom curricula across diverse disciplines. The complete list of documented press coverage is here, and the YouTube video of a paper I gave at The Southeastern Conference placing this painting in the context of my life/previous work, and Catholic imagery in contemporary art in general, is here. The painting is available for exhibition in safe venues, as threats have been made against both the artist and the painting. A full size study for the work was included in the 2011 exhibition "Beyond RE Production: Mothering", at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin.

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Blogger Cayce Goldberg said...

extremely interesting juxtaposition, it's an hilariously great take on modern religious painting... I really appreciate the detail in the store below, I spent a good 5 minutes just reading magazine covers and looking at the gum.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

In usual religious iconography, Walmart would not be hell, it would be earth. This is pretty appropriate considering the title "Benediction," since blessings aren't given to the damned. So I don't understand the many blogs/commenters calling Walmart hell (at least in the context of the painting; Walmart itself is fairly inferno-ish).

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful lips

8:00 AM  
Blogger Renato Michel said...

I want to buy it!!! how much is the price???

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. It's been incredible to see what you've gone through to create that. I thought what I did was difficult but even I don't spend that kind of time at my work. I'm impressed on several levels.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Wayne Nix said...

How much? Probably out of my range, but how about some prints or posters?

I love it.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it! And you picked the best woman. Love Angelina and love what she has done with her life.

The "Anonymous" poster above who castigated Angelina must be a chickenpoo. The best thing that ever happened to me was when a woman "stole my (ex) husband". I was set free to enjoy a better life. Crappy marriages aren't worth saving sometimes. So "Anonymous", get over yourself and live your life.

Kate, thanks for producing this great piece of art and current culture.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, this painting is great, just like Angelina. Well done, Kate.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous and I'm going to make a prediction. Don't be surprised to see blog traffic increase by another 1000% and your art sought out by the tabloids and even CNN. Believe it.

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kate-

I write for The Celebrity Baby Blog and I'm sure many of our readers would be very interested in this painting. I have posted one of your pictures along with a link to you and an explanation. Please email me at if there is any problems with us posting about your work or using the picture.


2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, you had me at "Psychological Clothing."

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She took someone else's husband ! She has never been cool in my book. Whatever, I dont understand why everyone is so fascinated with her. I think she is annoying and a terrible actress anyway.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Shoppers Repent!"

2:46 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Wonderful! Beautiful work - it seems from some of the comments that it's turning into quite the lightning rod. Many future successes!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are extremely talented and you have created an interesting dialogue about celebrity obsession. I am a long time Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt fan, respectively and I believe they would welcome the kind of dialogue you are trying to create.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exquisite!!!!!!!! You are so talented. Much success to you.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible work. Although I don't think a lot of people realize that art is meant to be interpreted by the viewer. Many seem to think there is one "right" meaning to the work. Best to you with your work.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well here's one Christian who won't condemn you to hell. It's a helluva piece of work. I linked to it from my private LJ. Hopefully you are blessed in your future endeavors. Thanks for sharing it. Peace!

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it. I truly love it. What a bold statement. And beautifully done too. You deserve every success and accolade that comes your way. And I hope that the people who don't quite "get it" don't get to you either.

Thanks for your good work and all good wishes.


10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate - It's also now on one of my fave blogs (besides the one i write for) Pink is the New Blog!

12:30 AM  
Blogger Joannycarmen said...

I think this is amazing. I certainly wouldn't mind having a copy of it :)

You definitely picked the perfect subject for this painting.

Congratulations and good luck!

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so beautiful!!! You really chose the right person!! I love Angie and the kids! Much success to you!!!!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I became aware of this while watching the news today. Of course, somebody had to be offended. I think it's really great and a perfect statement.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the painting and the messgae you are putting across that in todays society that ppl put celebritys on a god-like status. They praise these people for nothing more then getting their name in the paper, so to say. Its very true and also very sad. People need to stand back and look at what they are they are doing.

I see why you choose Angelina Jolie and dont think your "motives" were anymore then what you have stated. She is one of the few that tries to give back.

I am an Admin on Angelina Fan Site that has been discussing this picture on the forum, Here is the link if you wanted to take a look and add to your link sources.

And for all the Anonymous posters that have something negative to say, why not put your name and stand abit more firm in your convictions.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this painting! I really feel it makes people think about that way the media and the public perceive celebrities.

Angelina Jolie is a perfect specimen for this painting. Not only does she "give back" as many on this blog have stated, but she still continues to live her grand and lavish lifestyle. Last year, many people were holding their breath until her baby was born like it was something really important (some comedians even went as far as saying that her baby was the next messiah). So, depicting her as “The Virgin Mary” and her children as cherubs/angels is very fitting since, as I said before, many think of her as such. However, she is just a person and hasn’t done anything to deserve the hype that she gets. I somewhat was a fan of hers until her recent antics with Brad Pitt but now I am not at all.

Thanks for making this painting Kate, it really makes you think.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful - it reminds me of murals I've seen in Central America. In many third world countries, they put you on a pillar for helping out, and I'm sure there are actual "Blessed Mother Angelina" paintings in Cambodia & Africa, because of the work she's done there.
Oh, and those little angels are also from my favorite painting, so that helps in me liking it. Don't worry about all the flak - have you not seen what the majority of people call "art"? This is a beautiful painting, and you are very talented. They would have given you more respect if you had carved it out of shit or made an Angelina/Q-tip sculpture!

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I can see how we put the celebrities up on the pedestal. However, I see it more of a teenage thing. In which, teenagers will not look deep enough in this to see the point.
As far as Angelina, she is not perfect by any means. No one is. However, it seems that she has changed. She is not just talking about change, she has changed. You can see by her actions.This could be an example to us all to have a blessed heart in helping others.
I think we are better to look at life as the cup being half full than empty. You can lean from EVERYTHING.
Thank you for this beautiful work of art and the quesetions that you wish to bring up in all of us.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just love it! Read about you & your painting on & jumped right over here for more info.

Great art! I, too, would love it if you put this out as a print! Best of success to you.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you miss some of the (rather complicated) trip from Angelina's "heaven" to the Wal-Mart shopper; in between there is the press to tell the masses which celebrity to "pray to;" in effect, "sanctifying" them. You have Angelina in the magazine rack which may easily be missed by those who aren't looking at that piece of the puzzle, so I think the inclusion of papparazzi in clerical robes snapping pictures might have helped illustrate it a bit better. (or papparazzi as "prophets?")

Overall though, I think the painting is fantastic!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning visual!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Surazeus said...

The Eternal Spirit of Motherhood is embodied by Angelina, current "incarnation" (in the flesh) of the Fertility Goddess who represents all women. Every woman holding a baby is sacred to me. That is why I love this painting. Simon Seamount

3:26 PM  
Blogger Surazeus said...

Inspired by this wonderful work of art that explores the eternal image of the Mother, I wrote a poem Blessed Are You at

5:39 PM  
Blogger Jessica Fuchs said...

that really is quite something.... excellent job...

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joy to see this picture--hope to see the painting some day. You've solved some of the big problems every painter faces.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou. I stand in-line at the logal grocery store where the images of celebrity on the covers of magazines bombard me with cover-storylines that I don't understand. Without wanting to track celebrity lifes, the media stories are blazenly pushed at me. The re-interpretation of a celebrity using religious iconography raises lots of wonderful questions worth discussing. I'm curious why you chose Angelina over, say Jennifer, who according to the cover-storylines in my local store appeared to be blamed for Brad leaving her because she chose not to have Children. This confused me for the time I stood in the check-out line. Why did you decide against a celebrity such as Paris Hilton who appears to be a celebrity by virtue of having been born into a monied family rather than based on any socially valuable qualities. Those questions asked, Angelina's multicultural designer family and relationship history that is not aligned with normal Christian ideals is Excellent for provoking the viewer to think about the role of celebrity.
Thankyou again :-)

12:02 AM  
Blogger Ruth Edwards said...

Love it! Well done - it's great that you got people thinking and questioning what all the hype surrounding these soc-called stars is all about!

Ruth - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

4:47 AM  
Blogger _ ANEW _ said...

Fantastic work KATE!

Aside from the hype I wanted to
compliment your DRAWING SKILL and

Well done : )


5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with the utmost respect to Angelina, can she not be respected and noticed for the role she plays as a human being just trying to make a difference.......

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome piece of painting, "Blessed Art Thou". It looked so angelic, full of motherly aura, revolutionary and humanity ...

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate said...

Yes. Apparently, not too many people know what "benediction" means....


That's so wrong...
You don't need to be so literal with your work, people need to use their brains!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting artistical vision.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is wonderful! To make people stop & think of art, or just to make people stop and actually think amazeing. I love it, plus the article I found it on lead me me here, where I find your other works just as beautiful

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think if 99% of the people chastising you for depicting Angelina as the Virgin Mary because you "obviously don't realize Angelina is NOT a Saint!" should take a second and think about the painting. If they did that, they would realize the concept of the painting is that people are deifying her with their more or less worship, whether it be through outlets like the tabloids in Wal-Mart or fan sites.

The reason Angelina Jolie was a much better pick for the subject of celebrity worship than say, Paris Hilton, is because as we can see, there are quite a few people out there who will say a good thing about Jolie. She is a bit of a confusing character, half-hated, half-loved, and more than most celeberities a "real person" with all of those layers. Paris Hilton would as you said, put the focus on wealth and material status; the point I get from this work is that we are venerating those who are in positions of power, for using their power, instead of those who do what they can, the common folk.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Riley said...

Fantastic. Thanks for drawing more general attention to modern art and generating discussion of it. The painting's beautiful, the kitsch factor is thought-provoking and even amusing.

I wish you much success.

Do you have a gallery of other images I can peruse? I'm going to direct my friends here.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece of artwork Kate keep up the good work.


10:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like it because I get Dali vibes from it...Dali meets Norman Rockwell and of course Rockwell's earthy imagery is looked upon from the Surrealism above. It doesn't really make me think too deeply, but I am reminded that this could be model of the working woman of the future: unmarried, with children, and fully capable of fulfillment and achievement on her own terms.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good gawd ppl...can't some of you just appreciate art for art and not take things so literal???
thoes of you having a cow over an adultress, husband stlealer, etc...look at your own lives...guess ya all never heard "thoes in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very intresting

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the annonymous person who said, "look at your own lives...guess ya all never heard "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"... Nobody is saying that they themselves are perfect. They are just saying that someone who has publicly done such horrible things as Angelina Jolie has, should never be depicted as the Virgin Mary no matter what the actual message is.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to show how Americans are influenced by coca cola and all Hollywood pop stars.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the painting interesting from an anthropological standpoint. Look at the symbolism in the painting: Jolie as a center, as a deity, holding her biological child (compare that wth the hool-lah of the media and world about her child), look at the wal-mart shoppers, what KIND of shoppers...there are many things about this painting I find interesting. As a Catholic, I am not too comfortable with the depiction of Jolie as a Deity (sp), but I can understand why the artist has depicted her as such. Many people are obsessed with the celebritiy and the goings-on in their lives. How many of us find ourselves looking through magazines at the checkout or even purchasing one? I admit I am guilty. Apart from her world with the UN, Jolie is not a perfect role model. She no doubt is a nice woman, but her actions in her life apart her UN work is disrespectful. Some people I know are so infatuated with her, they neglect to recognize that she is a woman who has had affairs with several of her leading men, and with a married man, whom she bore a child out of wedlock. Sadly, her image is tainted as a homewrecker. Admittedly she is a decent actress, and I applaud her for a cause bigger than herself. If only more celebrities focused their time and a lot of their money to causes bigger than themselves. This is where she is different, Jolie reportedly gives 1/3 of her income to her causes, which I find very nice. (I am not too sure about the exact amount she gives, somehow this number popped into my head).

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that angelina jolie was not a good subject for this painting. people think that she's this awful homewrecker but they tend to ignore all the good that she's done for the world. you'd be hard pressed to find another celebrity that gives so much of their time and money to help our world, and if they read her book or actually knew anything about her then they wouldn't see her as a homewrecker at all.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to the anonymous person who said jolie is a lesbian- you're wrong. she's actually bisexual, there is a difference and considering she's had a child with a man, it'd be rather difficult if she was lesbian, don't you think? also, i'd like to challenge all the haters of jolie out there to look at the good things she's done. she saved two children from lives of poverty, disease, and war, she donates 1/3 of her yearly earnings to charities (and considering her earnings, that's an incredible amount), and unlike most celebrities that just give money, she's been to the nations that need help, and wrote a book about it which i think many people here would do well to read. by no means is she a saint, but to hate on her like this is making judgements that there is hardly any basis for against a woman who is just like the rest of us. not perfect, but not a hellion either.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging by many of these comments, there's a scary *lack* of thinking being sparked by Kate's piece - just many people digging trenches around their already entrenched opinions. I hope that many more who might actually be considering the piece and what its commenting on, just aren't posting as much here...

Our seeming human need to hold up someone as ideal or blessed or otherworldly that was filled by religious figures for ages HAS been replaced by celebritites, from the time of the silent films. To think how much energy and time and money is spent tracking some other persons life, over our own, is pretty astounding - we just can't see the absurdity because we've been emmersed in it, like a fish surrounded by water, as absolutely normal, from the womb. We have no perspective on it anymore. If "celebrity" disapperared tomorrow, we'd all have to really see how much our daily lives revolve around it, and how empty we've allowed our lives to become without the diversion.

Kate's painting is just trying to give us that perspective back, IMO. But just like John Lennon's "Bigger than Jesus" statement in the 60's, the messenger is the one who gets pounced for having the temerity to point out the obvious reality of this situation.

Religious people who are offended by the use of the icons are missing the point. Kate is only making obvious the subtle, unconsidered daily worship of celebrity in our culture. If you are religious, then questioning the "false idols" in your own lives might be more constructive than pointing out the obvious fact that Jolie is not the Virgin Mary and is certainly an imperfect human being (as we *all* are).

The point of the painting to me is, that NO, of course Jolie shouldn't be diefied - but not because any of you are sitting in judgement on the life of a woman *you don't actually know*, but because she's just another human being - a
(talented, I think) actress and beautiful certainly - but just fallible flesh and blood, living her mistakes in public as an exchange for her success.
NONE of us deserved the mindless deference we pay celebrities.

For unreligious people, it can help us question why we think the person on the magazine is better, more interesting or more talented than we are - and what place they should be taking up in our brains. I'm just as likely to grab a People magazine as the next person - I just want to start to be aware when mere entertainment becomes more than that, for me.

Thanks, Kate, for an interesting piece. Don't let the knee-jerk reactions discourage.

rhyfeddu - Ohio

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like it, still I'm wondering why so many here are so worried with the model.
Who were the lady models to the classic painters work, since none of the best of them (i.e. Van Dyck, Raphael…) did actually meet the real Mary, the First?
Also, Mary (the First) is an abused icon by the Rome church to convince us of what they want. A simple commercial issue when we know that the pope dresses Prada.

Well done, Kate. Go on them.


3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the piece, mostly because it is so incredibly American. It seems most of modern art has primarily been abstract, or if not abstract, it has been bassed ion Europe or Asia. This scene displays a setting that is unavoidably, and typically, but not stereotyically, American. That kind of representation is rare.

3:23 PM  
Blogger AccidentalBlogR said...

Hi Kate,
Thanks for the piece of artwork. Anything that causes so much conversation and controversy is ok with me.
Enjoy the ride!

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahahaha...i think its cool!! of course i can form my own opinion, i AM entitled to that, right?? nevertheless, to put the picture in walmart is the piece de resistance...i mean, what better place for ms jolie anyway? i honestly hope that, in her heart of hearts, she doesnt believe that her world-traipsing doesnt make her some type of "mother teresa" in the eyes of the "commoners"...she still disgusts me, and obviously yourself, otherwise, you wouldnt have put her in such a glorified position. off the record, i think your work is great, and frankly i wonder if i wouldve heard of you any other way...good move on your part to capitalize on a capitalist herself!!

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, jolie is such a saint *rollseyes*

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you (Kate) should've kept the title 'Benediction' even if many didn't know the meaning. Perhaps it would've inspired more to look it up & actually learn something.


4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a devoted follower of Christ, I'd like to throw my two cents in:

Sadly, people do indeed worship Angelina Jolie. That's evident in how much attention she gets. While I admire that she is at least doing SOMETHING with her podium (bringing attention to poverty and need in other countries) I agree with the person ealier who mentioned the more important goal of investing in these countries for the long term. Better, I believe, to set up an orphanage that will benefit many children than carry one or two around on your hip like a trophy for all the world to see (of course it would be unfair to paint all adoptive parents with the same brush but it's a disturbing trend I'm seeing lately).


The Bible is clear that after Mary delivered Jesus and finally "knew" Joseph, they had several more children, so get your facts straight.

Celebrity worship is good topic to dicuss, the art is provocative and I personally don't find it offensive. I perceive it as tongue-in-cheek.

No one ever bridged the gap between sin-prone, mortal man and the sinless, eternal Heavenly Father without crossing the bridge that is Jesus Christ.

He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone
to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song 'Amazing Grace'
Christ Jesus paid the debt
that I could never pay

5:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love it.... I love Angelina, the kids and Brad. She did not "steal" Brad away. He was already gone. He wanted kids, she wanted to be a movie star, which "she" will never be. I am so tired of hearing her whine about Angie "stealing" her husband, Brad has higher ambitions than to be just a star on the screen. I'm glad he found someone...Angie...who shares his beliefs in the world and is more intersed in what is going on in the world, and trying to make it a better place...than the ex..."is my hair ok.?" She is only interested in what movie she can screw up next. Jen is a loser.
I hope Brad and Angelina have 10 more kids, they are the best looking couple in the world.
I thank you for this painting, it is perfect. And Brad is a "God" , all you have to do is look into those eyes. Angelina has perfect lips, you people are just jealous, cause you have to pay to have lushious lips that she was born with.
Thank you for letting me vent, I am sick to death of poor, poor Jen.
Get a life and stop crying to the world.
ANGELINA IS A GODESS, you captured her essence, thank you and keep painting.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love it.... I love Angelina, the kids and Brad. She did not "steal" Brad away. He was already gone. He wanted kids, she wanted to be a movie star, which "she" will never be. I am so tired of hearing her whine about Angie "stealing" her husband, Brad has higher ambitions than to be just a star on the screen. I'm glad he found someone...Angie...who shares his beliefs in the world and is more intersed in what is going on in the world, and trying to make it a better place...than the ex..."is my hair ok.?" She is only interested in what movie she can screw up next. Jen is a loser.
I hope Brad and Angelina have 10 more kids, they are the best looking couple in the world.
I thank you for this painting, it is perfect. And Brad is a "God" , all you have to do is look into those eyes. Angelina has perfect lips, you people are just jealous, cause you have to pay to have lushious lips that she was born with.
Thank you for letting me vent, I am sick to death of poor, poor Jen.
Get a life and stop crying to the world.
ANGELINA IS A GODESS, you captured her essence, thank you and keep painting.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit that I became one of many who was forming my own opinion. But who are we to be the judge of anything? God is the only one who is to judge and He will judge everyone when Jesus comes again. I am trying to change myself with God's help and not be a judge. It is hard to keep the tongue still.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are supposed to judge actions and behaviour.

1 Corinthians 6:3

"Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?"

1 Thessalonians 5:21

"But examine everything [carefully]; hold fast to that which is good"

Too many Christians give the faith a bad name by being ostriches. God does not require us to stick our heads in the sand - we're instructed to be discerning.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it and I think it should make people think. As a culture, we deify beauty.

People go to weight loss groups that are more like cults so they can attain the idealized impossible weight that the airbrushed figures in magazines have, rather than accepting themselves for who they are and leading a healthy lifestyle instead of looking for quick fixes.

If beauty was not deified in our society, so many people wouldn't be trying to attain it. Think about it -- how many people have low self-esteem because they do not meet the Hollywood ideal? Why can we not be happy with ourselves for who we are?

Perhaps your next painting should deal with the weight-loss gimmicks.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Kate, its simply breathtaking and beautiful, Angelina Jolie looks so life like in your painting.

6:39 PM  
Blogger JeannieGrrl said...

Pffft! Away with the naysayers - you've symbolized all of the people here who've commented whether good or bad. celebrity worship/controversy at its finest and I'll tell you what - to hell with symbolism for just a minute - I love the technique and the colours. Great work lady.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Paris David said...

Ah...welcome to the blogosphere mania, Kate!

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... to phrase this so the artist will understand behind the meandering b.s. of "psychological clothing (no offense - do you "create" nudity, perhaps? - The Emperor's New Clothes???) -

the Virgin was a VIRGIN, yes???

8:33 PM  
Blogger St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Howdy, Kate.

Like everybody else in North America today, I followed the Yahoo links to your blog and got to see the painting. Wow.

Unlike most of my fellow countrymen, it seems, I also read your explanations for your iconographic choices.

I, too, was struck by the ridiculous level of anticipation generated in the celebrity corner of journalism as the whole world waited for the birth of Shiloh last year. The Jolie-Pitts, driven as it were from their homeland, were forced to bring forth a baby under third world conditions... an infant born to an unmarried woman... a star (OK, 2 stars) appearing in Africa just before the eagerly anticipated birth (tongue firmly in cheek with the Nativity comparisons, folks.)

Who read and devoured those comparisons?? The same folks who read the celeb media, maybe the folks counting their cash at the WalMart, certainly (I assume) the commenter above so kindly referred to as "Captain Capital Letters."

As a Catholic, and as someone who believes that our energies need to be spent on what is pleasing to God, I very much appreciated this skewering of our culture's "cult" (as in worship) of celebrities.

Also, as a Catholic, I feel really badly about the knee-jerk, misspelt, awkwardly constructed, mis-directed anger of my co-religionists. But, without the controversy, I guess I would never have had the opportunity to see this painting.

Thanks. My take here.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic and I am in no way offended by this artwork. But what I am offened by, is what "Captain Captital Letters" said and it makes me ashamed to be a Catholic because of his remarks. It is people like him/her that give Catholics a bad name, and then you wonder "WHY IS IT THAT IT'S ALWAYS OUR RELIGION THAT'S BEING ATTACKED??". Well I can tell you why... Its because of ppl like you. Close, simple-minded people like you!

2:42 AM  
Blogger Dawson said...

I love your painting.
I hope you don't mind but I took the pic you put up and turned it into a desktop background for my private use.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it totally depicts what society has chosen as its main focus. Well done!

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess some people might think the picture blasphemous, and yet it is definitely a "thinking" piece about how celebrity worship seems to have displaced what once belonged exclusively to the cult of the saints and worship. During the season of Christmas, one of the themes is how every child is a reflection of the Christchild and how every mother symbolises something of Mary. That also comes to mind as I look at your picture. It is also striking how the upper scene seems apocalyptic and sensational while the lower Walmart setting is every bit ordinary. It is quite a painting and I love the attention you have given to small details.

As iconography, it seems to depict a stationary image of Jolie (Mary) much as one would expect in a visionary apparition. This differs from the usual depiction of Mary in the Assumption with cherub-angels (representing Christ's power) lifting her into heaven.

Thank you for sharing the picture on the Blog. I have nothing near $50,000, but would love to have a print if they should ever come available.

I will make a link from my Blog.

Father Joe

6:27 AM  
Blogger Renegade said...

Awesome painting! I totally agree with your outlook on Celebrity Worship!

I, for one, don't care about or pay much attention to celebrity BS... but hopefully this painting will open the eyes of millons of women around the nation!

Check out Renegade's BS

10:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Kate, interesting piece of work :) and congratulations for your intention of getting people to 'think' on your subject.

Personally, if I can humbly say my opinion, I don't think celebrity worship is wrong, as long as they are doing good works and not generating publicity for not important reasons... after all, they are humans too :)

12:01 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

i think the point of your painting is great! i am often sickened by the american preoccupation with the private lives of celebrities.
since your point is about how inappropriate it is to be so focused on the proud, will there be a contrasting painting with a more appropriate focus?

1:15 PM  
Blogger DJ MotorCityMonk said...



These comments are sooooo classic.

I especially enjoy the right-wing fanatical religious zealots who attempt to chastise you and your art.

Keep up the great work!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great piece of art. The celebrity/commerce worship is always ripe for satire.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats. Your poece is getting all sorts of attention. Was covered in the toronto papers today.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This painting was supposed to make people think according to the artist. When I saw this painting I did think “WHAT WAS SHE THINKING????!!!!!” Her explanation makes no sense this painting is insulting!

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


good remark, idea
nice production

Standa from Czech Republic

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great, provocative work. Stirs up a nice little brush-fire. Thanks to Salon for introducing me to your art. Keep it up!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Nicole Robinson said...


Thank you for creating such a thought-provoking piece of art. Your idea behind it is very unique. It is worth all the controversy, as it pushes each of us to look head on at some of the issues you are addressing, both social and spiritual.

I think Angelina Jolie is an especially good subject. Her rocky personal life, philanthropy, and movie start status give us a lot to think about, as all the comments demonstrate.

Even today, many women are killed for committing adultery. While I do not agree with some of her personal choices, I am thankful that she lives in a time and place where she is not defined only by her mistakes. Angelina Jolie had done a great deal of good. As for her personal life - most people are quite aware of their weaknesses, without having the world constantly point them out. Not many people have to figure out their lives with the world looking on.

To the anonymous commenter who wrote, "I'd rather be overweight than an adulterer any day" - I think you may want to rethink many, many things.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:23 AM  
Blogger JeannieGrrl said...

Wow kate - that chick is messed up.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will be praying for your dying soul as well JeannieGrrl!

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear JeannieGrrl what that woman said is 100% TRUE there is nothing wrong with her. What is wrong is that people in this world have a chance to learn from mistakes made by other yet they ignore them and make their own instead. You don't believe what she said do some research. Mary

2:40 AM  
Blogger Kate said...


The painting is ironic, and the response to it is even more ironic.

You can find a description of my intent below the original images.

One of the things that people don't seem to realize is that an artist cannot predict what will happen to the work once it leaves the studio. Millions of artists make millions of paintings every year. You make the painting because you have something to say, you put it on a wall someplace, and usually, a few people see it, then you bring it home until the NEXT time you hang it on a wall. If you are lucky, someone likes it enough to buy it & hang it on their own wall.

When I was making this painting, I had no idea that all of this would happen. It was like every other painting I have ever made, except it was shown in a place where the audience was bigger than normal, some people thought it was interesting, and spread the word.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one needs to think twice to know that Angelina craves attention. Her actions speak louder then words.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it´s perfect...i liked!

by Asheley

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There sure is some controversy surrounding the painting. Nonetheless I think you have talent.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your painting would have been more realistic if Angelina was dressed in black.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

This is an art blog, and I have removed comments that are not on topic. This is not the platform for a 12 paragraph ranting on the nature of God, if it does not address art. I would do the same if you were posting on this blog about, say, football.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Very interesting painting! While I was not able to take the time to read EVERY post on your site, I wanted to add my two cents.

I find your work to make an interesting statement about the idealistic view of celebrities by the average consumer. I myself sometimes fall prey to the morbid curiosities of the masses but find myself at the same time disgusted by how intrusive the paparazzi can be. Are our lives really that much better if we know not only where the celebrities eat but what and how much??

I think the subject matter is very interesting and I look at it this way. You could have used any celebrity to say the message, to point out the irony of our "worship". Another celebrity in that spot may have actually made the irony of it clearer and distracted less people by the good that she does as a Good Will Ambassador and as a global citizen. Nonetheless, portraying Angelina Jolie-Pitt as the Virgin Mary instead of any other celebrity adds, as you yourself say, another layer to the irony. Yes she helps a lot of people in the world. (If you deny this than you are biasing yourself with selective information.) But for some reason, we care more about the birth/adoption of her children, whether she slept with Brad Pitt before his separate or not and her youthful oddities/indiscretions (the blood of her ex-husband and son in her freezer and around her neck, her "I am so in love with you" comments directed to her brother, etc etc) than we do about the good that she does in the world. Why are her new movies better publicized than her philanthropy?

So whether I am a fan of that type of art or not and whether I am a fan of Angelina personally or not, I commend you for the statement that you are trying to make and the questions that you are posing to the intelligible masses.

Just my two cents.

Alexis Tanner
Vancouver, BC, Canada

1:29 PM  
Blogger JeannieGrrl said...

I think if some individuals can't accept that they see something differently than you they should just close the page and leave.

You obviously have your way of seeing things and they have theirs. I actually read and understood your reason for the subject as well as the symbolism.

Apparently some didn't.

Art is like food in its way - its enriching, nourishing and sometimes even detestable but what you like may be something I abhor.

say I like spinch and you don't - rather than try and force you to never eat spinach again I'd get on with my life and as a mature adult I'd say "hmm.. Kate hates spinach..." instead of coming back repeatedly to denigrate you or threaten you into eating it.

Its really OK kate -I love your thoughts even if others are too narrow minded to even try to understand.

The witch hunts taught us that destroying anything we either fear or simply don't understand is OK and although most of humanity has grown beyond those rather primitive views - there are some still living in the dark ages and using supposed "religion" as a weapon of mass control.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

PLEASE understand that her children did NOT pose nude for me, I have never met her children. The Maddox figure is borrowed from a Raphael painting, so it is the angel in the Raphael painting is "uncut".

9:42 AM  
Blogger Paul Coleman said...

Amazing, amazing, amazing art. Finally, a real comment on the world around us. I also explore the theme of fame as a form of divinity in my feature film. Anyway, keep making great stuff.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your a gifted artist thank you for putting your work on display on the internet for all to see.
You know you hit on something when you can draw such fervent responses from others. I find the irony of this whole thing hilarious as some of the people responding recite to you every little detail of the Brad , Jen , Angelina scandal which obviously means they either purchased tabloids or boosted Nielson ratings by tuning into the "Gossip"
thus perpetuating some of the satire you have depicted in your painting. Then they proceed to try and humiliate you for holding up the mirror.
Very Well Done

Ignorance can be corrected
Stupid is forever

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another round of free publicity for Jolie. Her "Virgin" image is to disguish her dark side?

4:13 PM  
Blogger Escritor en el Tejado said...

Hello Kate, I'm a Catholic Spanish Priest (yes, you've became famous here too). I like very much your work, and I don't understand why some people consider offensive this painting. ¿Didn't Michelangelo o Leonardo use real women or even prostitutes as models for their Virgin's paintings? ¡And nobody scandals about it nowadays!. As far as I'm concerned, the lower part of your painting is much more worrying, 'cause it reflects how, in our world, money is the new god is, and Walmarts his new churches. Best wishes from Spain, and sorry for my bad English.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you people get it. This painting is not glorifying Angelina, but mocking the way we think about her. She's self-righteous in all that she does, and this is depicting what she thinks of herself and what the media would have you believe she is. All hail the queen of the Wal Mart checkout lane!

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IT reminds me of that saying "Disturb the comfortable, and comfort the disturbed".

10:05 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Fabulous. I didn't bother to read and see if any other commenters said exactly the same thing. But I was struck by the fact Zahara and Maddox are cherubs and the babe in her arms has no wings. Not that you are saying this--but her adopted children may never, in the eyes of the public, be as important within her family as the one she gave birth to.

12:06 PM  
Blogger kassy said...


4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear artist,

I just saw this on tumblr and had to scroll down to see the whole work and was absolutely flabbergasted in a way that hasnt happened in a while with a piece of art on screen.

Being loathsome of the celeb worship our society has cultivated, but also being a periphery participant in having working faculties and living in an urban environment where by sheer osmosis and paying attention to my surroundings, know who these entertainers are - I was moved by the piece in an amazing way that combined the disgust I have for the celeb worship by the homogenization of our system of procuring - the ubiquitous walmart setting that is the sole market place for so many people in our country and rapidly the world.

I (heart) this piece - thank you for taking the time to deliberately make a dual statement about a topic that is particular irksome to me, but rarely so concisely and aptly portrayed in a painting.

Much love and I hope you get a zillion dollars for it!

All the best,

11:54 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Art is when you can’t tell who the joke is on, but you know one is there.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous dubai marina property said...

This is very good news and i am very happy to see your comment kate..!

2:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Guernica was painted by Pablo Picasso and still remains one of the best paintings by him. The painting depicts tragedies of a war as well as the sufferings inflicted on people as a result of the war. Pablo Picasso intended to create this with an aim of attracting the attention of the world when Germans bombed the small town of Basque in Guernica. The painting was completed in the year 1937 and remains a legend to date.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Beautiful art.

9:04 AM  

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