bugsplatter bugsplatter


Artist James Cauty has a new art show opening in London entitled Splatter. The exhibition, produced by Cauty and his 15 year old son, opens next week at the Aquarium L-13 Gallery. According to the press release:

The Cautys’ new project employs hijacked popular cartoon characters and liberated animations, to violent, shocking and entertaining ends, all of which will be part of their own specialist cartoon art gift shop. The Cauty animated collection will be degraded, overlaid & looped, fractured, and repeated on multiple LCD screens, presenting the viewer with unrelenting acts of bloody, cartoon violence, which, in cartoon law, ultimately cannot cause fatal injury.

This show by jCauty&Son warrants laugher, discomfort and aims to provoke thought on violence and our media saturated culture. THE AQUARIUM L-13 will produce a vast array of merchandise to support and fund this project, including original draft collages and drawings, life size models, limited edition animation cells and prints, badges, balloons and fake blood. Everything will be for sale and 25% of all profits will be donated to Amnesty International.

The opening reception is next Thursday October 9th and the show will run for a month. More more information and images from Splatter click here.

(Thanks, Joe Dante)

  • FP

    Man, that stuff makes my mouth water. Classic cartoons are great entertainment and so are gore comics and movies. What a combo!

  • ridgecity

    isn’t this copyright infringement? Now to mention he is making a profit using other’s people characters…

  • Brad Constantine

    Yikes!…I’m personally against censorship but not as much as I am against raping art for profit, and just plain old bad taste. A good cause such as Amnesty International deserves a better idea. My two cents.

  • MechaV

    God I hate modern art.

  • ecto123

    I’m afraid that I half to agree with Brad. This is a prime example of people who have been influenced by bad animation by the likes of Seth McFarland and Maxwell Atoms.

  • Jorge Garrido

    In the words of Mike Fontanelli, “Yawn.”

  • ridgecity: See, james cauty isn’t censoring the violent imagery, he’s censoring the faces of the characters. That should keep him safe from threats of copyright infringement. And since 25% of the proceeds go to Amnesty International, you know neither the artist nor the gallery is making too much of a profit

    What pisses me off about the whole thing is that I didn’t think of doing it. Then again, I’m not a member of KLF with disposable cash sitting around. Would it have killed him to at least try to stay on-model?

  • tommy

    Wow! This is edgy! I hope there’s one with Porky’s crotch censored! And maybe one of Bugs in blackface!

    What a load of crap.

  • Herb

    Bet they won’t touch Jolson. But if they donate the proceeds to a good cause, that’ll make it all cool.

  • Killroy McFate

    I think I’ll save the plane fare and go watch Itchy and Scratchy.

  • I agree with Tommy. What a load of crap.

  • Nic Kramer

    Yeesh! I hate to see what that guy did to poor Mickey and “Unca” Donad.

  • FP

    You guys sound as if you don’t enjoy KIT’N’KABOODLE and ITCHY AND SCRATCHY.

  • Buttertoast

    It kind of makes me wonder where this thirst for animated blood and violence comes from? Meh… feels like a trend of somesort.

    What would the real Bugs Bunny do if he finds out about this 0.o

  • I’ll stick with the original Chuck Jones masterpieces.

  • It’s an easy target,but I think stuff like this helps keep our society in touch with reality. I love cartoons, don’t get me wrong,but there are people out there who might be a tad desensitized from watching action movies thus, maybe this’ll help them understand that at its core, violence is brutal.

  • I like it.

    It’s ten BAJILLION times better than what passes for “art” nowadays. Probably because Cautry steals from the best.

  • The comments so far illustrate why animation remains the domain of kids shows and cereal commercials.

    It’s creators have a microscopic understanding things outside their limited purview. This is evidenced clearly in their criticism, more clearly at their attempts to create art beyond simple cartooning.

  • Christina S.

    @ ridgecity: I dunno, looking at a good bunch of paintings Roy Lichtenstein did – including one with Mickey and Donald – I don’t think the fine art world cares a whole lot about copyright infringement.

    As far as the actual art itself, well… Can’t say I object to it. I mean, it’s modern art, this sort of thing happens all the time.

  • Jim Meadows

    Back in its early days, Mad Magazine did a piece on cartoon violence that compared the comic domestic violence of the Bringing Up Father comic strip (aka Maggie and Jiggs) with a noir rendition of the same violence by Bernard Krigstein, featuring realistic (and very painful) consequences. I think James Cauty may be making a similar point. The Krigstein piece has been reprinted (as far as I can tell from a quick online search) in the collection “Mad About Comic Strips”.

    As far as copyright question raised by ridgecity, I think laws governing parody and satire might apply here. Mad Magazine has often used recognizable cartoon and comic strip characters in their pages — although I don’t know if they do it as much today. Perhaps the laws have changed.

  • slowtiger

    Nothing new under the sun. I have some albums by Massimo Mattioli in my bookshelf, especially “Squeak the Mouse” (1984) which heavily makes fun of Tom&Jerry and may have served as Groening’s inspiration for Itchy&Scratchy.

    Somebody scanned the album, and from that page I learned that it was even confiscated when it came to USA first. See http://forums.mycotopia.net/lifestyles/31826-mattioli-s-squeak-mouse.html for this story.

  • This is what you get from listening to a fifteen year old.

  • Rex The Runt

    It’s all so.. so what? When the ex-KLF go outside what they know well ( subverting pop music ) and still try to shock it ends up stale and second hand.

    When they took on the art world and alledgedly burnt a million quid as a performance no one cared. When they gave a huge cash prize to Britain’s worst artist she simply said thank-you and got on with being actually quite popular and accessible. And now it’s ‘look at the cartoon characters being shocking’. Like no one has ever seen that before.

    The Sardine gallery does a lot of street art as well as Jamie Reid, the Sex Pistols poster artist, so you can see the context for this work and the people who will buy the images and the kind of magazines that will print them. And if anyone sues they will love that. They’ll still be punks.

    In a way these ARE cartoons, not art. They’re good for a quick, one note, slightly shocked laugh, but that’s it. They don’t have the resonance of great art or great animation.

  • Well, this…totally different. Not really my cup of tea, TBH…but who is gonna bet they’ll be half a dozen Herman and Katnip clips sliced in with the show? (Oops, “sliced”…did I just make a bad joke…?)

  • FP

    I forgot about SQUEAK. I have it on a shelf somewhere. In addition, there are the AIR PIRATES comics, the short cartoon CAT AND MOUSE, the psychosexual violence of Herriman’s KRAZY KAT strips, and more…

  • J Hobart B

    I dig it. I think it’s funny and well executed, and obviously, based on the comments so far, pretty provocative.

  • Bret

    They’re legally clear as long as they do it ONCE.

  • John

    Well, this would have been cutting edge …. if it was 1965 and Mad Mazagine hadn’t come out with their Uncle Nutzy kids show parody with the Tom & Jerry saitre yet.

  • OM

    …What’s amazing about this is that if he’d used Smurfs instead of WB characters, we’d be praising his name to the heavens and fighting each other over who gets to bid first on the original prints.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Eh. If I need to see splatter I just play Team Fortress 2 as a demoman.

  • a reader

    The Cautys’ new project employs hijacked popular cartoon characters and liberated animations, to violent, shocking and entertaining ends

    “Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown!”.
    Jim Reardon did that short, what? 22 years ago? He not only did the violence-applied-to-cartoon-sweetness take but every aspect of his thing was really funny, down to the wildly “wrong” voices.

    I’d add that since Bugs and Daffy or indeed any WB characters being violent was intentional in the 40s-50s it removes some of the innovation of emphasizing that now. How does one do a “hijacking” when it’s been done so well by the original filmmakers? It may be something, but fresh and new/shocking it ain’t.

  • Paul N

    I don’t find this particularly edgy or thought-provoking. It’s on par with any number of first-semester student films that do the same thing. It’s the first, easiest thought, in other words.

  • messy

    I saw this elsewhere and was going to tell everyone here about it. Too late.

  • Billy Big Bollox

    Well what can I say? I hope WB sue his ass off! Shitty modern art by a shitty modern artist! And his music was shitty too!

  • Matt The Cat

    Normally I’m a supporter of Amnesty, but I really hope this crap doesn’t raise a cent!

  • ridgecity

    @Christina S.:

    This are different times, now Apple wanted to copyright the world Apple, and they fought the Beatles in court. Britney Spears sues an artist for making a statue of her giving birth. Disney complains about a restaurant that looked like Epcot Center.

    I work in advertising, maybe that’s why I’m so paranoid about getting sued…lol

  • JG

    It seems most commentators here don’t get the point. At all.
    Or desperately try NOT to think about it…

    Feel uncomfortable about cartoony violence of your favorite talking critter shows suddenly feeling “not ok”?

    (Imho, his actions should be covered by fair use — for purposes of critique/example.)

  • Anna

    1)take classics
    2) edit in more blood!
    3) ????
    4) Profit!

  • Joe

    Well….the blood is applied very well.

    But I agree with other commentors that this just isn’t very a original idea and has been used to better effect in the past. The only real interesting aspect is that these are scenes that seem to be taken straight out of the respective cartoons and largely traced over in duplication with a bit of added detail. I does help the context a bit.

    Maybe next there will be a similar Three Stooges or Abbot & Costello “real life violence” exhibit to follow up.

  • FP

    -Maybe next there will be a similar Three Stooges or Abbot & Costello “real life violence” exhibit to follow up-

    It’s sort of already been done, at least as far as tone: Peter Jackson’s early movies, such as the eternal classics BAD TASTE and DEAD ALIVE, Frank Henenlotter’s BASKET CASE series and FRANKENHOOKER, and of course Raimi’s EVIL DEAD and sequels. Those things are hilarious.

    Jackson has even done a Muppets gore film: the delightful MEET THE FEEBLES.

  • John

    JG —

    This is the same ethos as in the 60s when people vehemently opposed to the classic WB cartoons and others from Hollywood’s Golden Age wanted to all to think long and hard about the actual consequences of the violence on screen before then next time we laughed at Daffy getting his beak blown off by Elmer.

    It’s a 40-year-old nanny screed, nothing new and trying to make a point that assumes we’re all morons and can’t tell the difference between cartoon violence and the real thing. If you want to be profound, think of something that really wasn’t even original back when LBJ was president.

  • Inkan1969

    Er, this doesn’t look much different from fanart. If you go to a fan art site you’ll find reams of art showing well known cartoon characters in situations you’d never see in the mainstream: i.e. graph sex and violence. This art theme then doesn’t seem all that inspired. I saw nothing that daring in the sample art, so they let the cats eat their prey, so what? I find it hard to believe that this artist got a whole gallery for this cheesy idea.

  • Andrew Osmond

    Okay, I know it’s considered the devil’s spawn on this site, but Family Guy did this stuff with way more impact and better timing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTnaCCaf5OM (Bugs Bunny)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9GRryPaMcA (Yogi Bear)

    while for fan art you can’t beat this Totoro piece

  • JG

    John –

    Yes. You’re right. The lack of originality kills it. And so does the poor quality of execution. The way I see it, this could be a part of a larger work, show or series, since according to the press release it “aims to provoke thought on violence and our media saturated culture” (that’s a bit broader than cartoons; what abotu violence in computer games and everywhere on the internet?), but as a standalone it’s underwhelming.

    I just felt like disagreeing with the “if it’s not pretty – it’s not art” folks.

    Then again, when it comes to art – context means alot. Asking this same question then and asking it now warrants different results. (Sort of like Hermann Nitsch’s mystery theater then and now – content hasn’t changed, but the interpretations did. (Easily offended “I hate modern art!” folks – please don’t google that name.))

  • Inkan1969

    I liked that totoro fanart, Andrew. I was impressed with the craftsmanship put into it. A lot more interesting than the samples from the “splatter” display.

    That fanart just proves our point. The website says, “In classic Cautese style, the new works present a continuing exploration of subverted and re-coded reality”. Uh, yeah. But fanart such as the above had already re-coded reality years ago. Thanks to the internet, you can see millions of people redefine familiar characters in a variety of ways. Mostly sucky. But I think fans definitely don’t have narrow definitions of characters that Cauty and Son supposedly are trying to subvert.

  • Brian D. Scott

    To quote Bugs: “I seen better heads on a glass of root beer!” This just seems like overkill.

  • Brian D. Scott

    What would have been interesting, in my opinion, is if they had taken some of the scenes that were right on the edge of being censored and stepped them up a notch. For instance, the “unseen” final fall in Hair Raising Hare with the dog and Bugs (they both go splat), or the “Bugs shoots dog” scene in Heckling Hare (?). If they had taken those scenes to real world logical conclusions, they would have been more interesting than “made up” stuff. This would almost be like an “What if the original cartoonists had no censorship to worry about?” exercise. The scenes that I saw at the site I don’t think ever really happened in any of the cartoons.

  • Jay Kormann

    This stuff isn’t art. It’s garbage.

  • The scenes that I saw at the site I don’t think ever really happened in any of the cartoons.

    That’s what dawned on me as I revisited this thread: Bugs NEVER had to shoot Daffy. Bugs, being the smarter character, never had to resort to using a gun to have the upper hand. That’s what bothered me about the Bugs & Daffy piece; it should’ve been Elmer wielding a shotgun with a malicious grin on his face as he pulls the trigger.

    While we’re at it, Elmer should’ve been making out with Bugs in drag as he rectally assaults Daffy with the shotgun… but I think doing that would guarantee a ceace-and-desist letter from the WB legal team.

  • Karma

    I have to agree with many of the others here, for once.

    I mean, quite honestly, this is stupid.

    I apologize for the language, but the bluntness of this statement is necessary to underscore the only exact words I can to express my feelings on this garbage. There’s no other real way to describe it.

    I’m not buying for one second this half-assed, hastily tacked on, poor excuse that they offer for the merits of it’s “art”.

    Pretending that there’s some cultural relevance in this complete and utter demonstration of worthless, banal stupidity, may have a few clueless people fooled as to possibly containing some kind of social critique or thought provoking modern commentary about the “media”, but truthfully… there isn’t anything of the sort here, and anyone over 13 years old with half a brain, inherently knows that it isn’t.

    This is not any kind of social commentary on the types of idiot 12 year old Newgrounds fanatics or the media at work here. It is simply garbage from people who do, in fact find this stupidity mildly amusing.

    And truthfully, I don’t know which is more pathetic. Those that find this exhibit worthwhile or the “brilliant” minds (or lack thereof) behind it.

    In short: There’s a line between examine banal stupidity and BEING banal stupidity. This isn’t a “look” at it. It simply IS it.