The Big Boss
The Big Boss
Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 67.5 centimeters

The title of this reimagining, The Big Boss, named in honour of the 1971 Bruce Lee kung fu movie, partially conceals the project's origins of my interest in the details of arrest scenes shown in news reports. Typically the cops schedule the arrest for the early morning or late at night when the suspect is most likely to be home and vulnerable. He would be drowsy from sleep and would appear shirtless, shoeless and dressed only in track pants while the cops were dressed in para-military looking body armour and armed with pistols and truncheons. Images intended to send a message of the coercive power of the state.

The development of the concept went smoothly but I was nagged by the thought that the idea was trite and I searched for metaphors to frame it. The first was the first-person shooter computer game, a genre that trades on violent stereotypes, and a Bruce Lee film provided the final component. I stripped the cop character of identifying features such as the checker pattern on his baseball cap, deleted his gun and holster and turned him into a generic tough guy. I chose to leave the crook how I made him with his shaven head, Neo-Nazi prison tattoo, grey track pants and posed him preparing for a kung fu battle

The characters were dropped into an environment made to resemble a computer game maze modelled in a faux Oriental style which includes an improbable neolithic stone statue.

The Big Boss : Wikipedia
First person shooter : Wikipedia