NPR logo

Painter Spreads Internet Memes in Oil

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88131536/88131507" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Painter Spreads Internet Memes in Oil

Digital Life

Painter Spreads Internet Memes in Oil

Painter Spreads Internet Memes in Oil

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88131536/88131507" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Courtesy of Jeremiah Palecek

In "Grape Stomping Lady Falls on Her Face," Jeremiah Palecek captures a famed YouTube clip. Courtesy of Jeremiah Palecek/Nerdkore.com hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Jeremiah Palecek/Nerdkore.com

The Dramatic Prairie Dog, the Grape-Stomping Lady, Diet Coke and Mentos: For those not yet in the know, these are all short videos made famous on the Web — and all are now splashed on canvas thanks to Prague-based artist Jeremiah Palecek.

Palecek began an artist's affair with popular culture when he was 16 and made his first paintings from the Ricki Lake Show. His reasoning was simple: "I thought these images were worthy of a painting."

With some additional art training, Palecek was ready to tackle a more urgent medium, the Internet — and in particular its most basic, hilarious, bizarre and ubiquitous artifacts, viral videos.

"Most of these are very easy to replicate," he says. "Everybody has an experience watching a funny video, just like they know that kidney thief story."

Will he paint from the video that depicts a Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff?

"There's a place for all these types of videos," Palecek says. He says his paintings are an effort to make little time capsules of a certain time, no matter what the subject. "I'm sure when I paint the puppy," he says, "people will ask, 'Does he like killing puppies?' But I think they all deserve attention."

Palecek posted a video on his Web site asking people to tell him what to paint next. His last user-directed painting featured Flavor Flav, a prehistoric bird, a 1981 Honda and a DeLorean. He displays (and sells) his work online at Nerdkore.com.

On our blog: a slideshow of Palacek's work.