Hybrid Culture through “Hang Over”



“Hang Over” is a painting by Fred Tomaselli created in 2005. Thepainting was viewed on May 3 2015 at the “Museum of ContemporaryArt, Los Angeles”. The size of the artwork is 84 x 120 in. “HangOver” is a collaged painting made from amassed photographicreproductions as well as objects, which are organized on top of ablack background via a kaleidoscopic work of art. On the floor of thepainting, the artist arranges a work’s pictorial aspects within apainted ground, which he superimposes using thin coverings of glossclear resin, entrenching them in the picture plane. The paintingcontains many leaves, images and pills that have been organized incomplex sequences to demonstrate the countrified scene of a tree,which is placed within colorful flowers as well as tall grass. Thedense black background, which is apparent in the painting, inaddition to the hands that have been teared apart and pills that havebeen scattered around the tree branches such as garlands, result inan edgy quality for the utopian setting.


The painting is detailed and layered. The artist amasses and employsplentiful amounts of herbs as well as pills in the painting. Hereorganizes the objects from far-off, personal items can be hardlydifferentiated (Tomaselli, 2005). However, when up close, the detailsbecome attention grabbing. “Hang Over” demonstrates the naturalglobe as a production of man, a vision, which begins with children’sanimation cartoons then progresses to adult life via art. Thepainting is bright, dynamic in addition to being hallucinatory in thedetails. Covered using resin, Tomaselli collages leaves, pills,hands, paper as well as paint to come up with extraordinary panels,which feel as though they have been shredded from an intergalacticchildren’s narrative book.

The artist in “Hang Over” employs numerous contours, which areaimed at demonstrating the shapes as well as form of the differentelements incorporated in the painting. Curved lines are used increating the pills and hands that are hanging from the tree. The treeis painted using horizontal lives. Since the artwork comprises ofnumerous elements, the shape is irregular. There are numerousnegative spaces in the painting, due to the shapes formed in thespaces amid the shapes. Tomaselli uses dark lights in bringing outthe tome of the painting. Black is highly represented in thebackground of the painting. The painting looks smooth. The texture isvisual due to the use of diverse lines, colors as well as shapes.

The artist in “Hang Over” aims at demonstrating the evolvingnature of like. The artist uses a garden, which comprises of numerouselements to demonstrate how things evolve and become different withtime. For instance, a garden may start out by having grass and treesalong, but all the hanging elements come into existence over time.The painting is a utopian landscape, and the use of the formalelements reinforces the theme through enhancing the dark setting thatthe artist aims at communicating. The setting resembles that of adark fairytale, while the painting represents a hybrid culture theme.


Tomaselli’s work represents a hybrid culture. The artist isrecognized for the visually packed paintings, which are hybrid asapparent in the materials, referring to culture and subjects. Thepiece comprises of bright colored paint passages, photo-collage anddrugs like leaves of marijuana as well as ecstasy pills (Distin,2009). The fact that Tomaselli employs numerous elements in theartwork makes the painting hybrid. In addition, the artist shiftsfrom traditional methods of creating art, to come up with an adventpainting that mixes numerous subjects together to create a new artculture. The artist plays around with objects, shapes, lines andcolor mixing them up to create “Hang Over”. To some extreme, itcould be said to be a representation of the life in California.Considering that the artist has been brought up in California, hedemonstrates the lifestyle through the use of painting. Not justsimple paintings, but artwork that represents all the aspects thatcan be found within a society, these include a mixture of differentpeople like the different elements.

The artist goes out of the ordinary and creates an artwork that isunique. There are numerous interpretations for the painting. First,it could be a representation of the artist’s life and hisengagement in farming. This is apparent through the many plants thatare seen emerging from the grass. The artist uses color to show thedifference between the grass and other vegetation that is growing onthe space. Tomasseli as well incorporates a tree that is fullycovered in hangings, which may imply growth or achievement in theartist’s involvement in farming. Second, the artists having beenbrought up it California may be communicating about the place. Thereare numerous features that define a place, and most important isdiversity as is apparent in the painting. Tomaselli communicates whathas been happening in society and especially to him and friends, forinstance the use of drugs apparent in the marijuana plants (Spears,2006). The artist manages to communicate their intended meaning dueto the use of hybrid culture.


Distin, S. (2009). Beyond the drugs: Exploring the work of artistFred Tomaselli. Flavorwire. Retrieved fromhttp://flavorwire.com/42644/beyond-the-drugs-exploring-the-work-of- artist-fred-tomaselli

Spears, D. (2006). Where art imitates gardening and vice versa. TheNew York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/arts/design/08spea.html?_r=0

Tomaselli, F. (2005). Hang Over. Collection: Moca’s first thirtyyears. MOCA. Retrieved from: http://www.moca.org/pc/viewArtWork.php?id=99