R.I.P Rest in Pieces is a fascinating documentary by director Robert-Adrian Pejo about Joe Coleman, my favorite artist. From the video description, Coleman is "known around the world as a shamanic, moral voice diagnosing the ills of 21st century America. Coleman holds nothing back, telling us of a world wracked with tumorous cities, perversion, divorce, violence, atomic bombs, and a human race destroying itself. Simply because we are born."
R.I.P Rest in Pieces is an intimate portrait of Coleman's life and work, where you can learn more about his personal life, early performances, paintings, and his incredible house where he collects and showcases oddities from around the world, such as a dead baby inside of a jar of formaldehyde.
I initially heard about Joe Coleman when I came across his interview in the RE/Search Publications book Pranks! on his early performance art. Interested in sideshow performances, Coleman began performing as a "geek" himself and took these sideshows to the extreme. He would bite the heads off of live mice, wire his own body for explosives, and give the audience an experience unlike anything they had been confronted with before.
Shortly after reading this interview, I found a book of his paintings which completely blew my mind and shook me to my core. Coleman's paintings filled a void of what I had been looking for in artwork for all of my life. Coleman paintings deal with the darker side of humanity, and are extraordinary in detail. He uses a one-hair brush and views his work through jeweler's goggles. This process allows him to paint an average of on square-inch a day.
There is a ritualistic, occult aspect to his painting process. He doesn't plan out his compositions beforehand, and just invents them as he goes. His paintings include many images within images, down to a nearly microscopic level. I've always been enthralled by this relationship between the microscopic and macroscopic in his work. I could spend hours looking at a single one of his paintings and still have more to discover. I get completely absorbed by and lost within the cosmic grandiosity of his work every time I look at it.