“Toxic Tea Party” is best described as the exploration of post-apocalyptic dreamscapes in the unsettlingly creepy landscape of the uncanny valley. This multi-installment project is unique, experimental, and groundbreaking because it is creating a new genre in art: Afro-Gothic Post-Apocalyptic Surrealism (a hybrid of Afro-Futurism, Afro-Gothic, Pop Art, and Post-Apocalyptic Surrealism). Recurring themes of life, death, grief, gas masks, respirators, plague, apocalypse, consumerism, and life during wartime tie the series together through mixed media. I primarily use pen and ink illustration, paper, paint, video, and found objects to create my work.
I lived in Los Angeles, CA for 13 years and I returned to the Twin Cities after the passing of my father. He died unexpectedly from pancreatic cancer on January 4th, 2015--only 21 days after his diagnosis. This traumatic and defining event was the catalyst to create a new type of art that explored deeper questions I had about my identity, mortality, and grief. I began creating macabre conceptual surrealism, which was a huge divergence from the bright, colorful, and whimsical art I was known for as a commercial artist and prop builder.
I named this collection “Divine’s Toxic Tea Party”. The series is heavily influenced by the work of Mark Ryden, Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Junji Ito, and World War II propaganda. All the events of Toxic Tea Party take place in Doomsville, The Uncanny Valley. The "Uncanny Valley" is a term used to describe the feeling of unease when humans interact with things that are creepy, too human, or not human enough. Doomsville is a small town populated by strange people and things exist comfortably in a macabre, quirky space that depicts life during wartime. “Toxic Tea” is a flagship product that represents our personal and collective toxicity that is apathetically marketed by the inhabitants of this world through propaganda and dark humor.
“Toxic Tea Party” does not have an agenda. It only exists to investigate the subconscious mind by peering into a realm that is slightly out of what most would consider a “comfortable reality”.
“Toxic Tea...It’s to DIE for!”