Mark Alfrey & Brent Engstrom

Mark Alfrey: Dead & Buried, 2009 – Wacky Packages Postcard Series 4

1/7/12 – Artist Bio

While I was browsing through the internet, I discovered the works of Mark Alfrey, a contemporary artist who has created some incredible special effects for the film and television industry. I decided to visit the artists website, where I discovered a series of paintings that reflect Alfrey’s interest in strange or absurd packaging and the collection is also known as ‘Wacky Packages.’

Alfrey depicts everyday products within a humorous or comical manner; these elements also provide a unique perspective towards the overall work. My favourite painting is the ‘Dead & Buried 2006’ that appropriates a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream. The image features a lively, animated skeletal figure playing a guitar with the title ‘Scary Garcia’ that is placed at the bottom of the tub.

I began to wonder, what does Garcia even mean? I decided to type the word into Google and I discovered that Garcia is a ‘Spanish surname,’ as referenced by Kimberly Powell. I’m not entirely sure how the title relates to Alfrey’s illustration, although the work does appear quite random and spontaneous at times. I am immediately captivated by the use of colour, shape and form that also creates a high level of detail within the painting. 

Alfrey has transformed the packaging into something completely obscure, although the idea and the concept is creative and artistic. I would absolutely love to buy a tub of ice-cream with this type of packaging! For some reason, I can’t seem to ignore the composition between this popular ice cream brand and the skeleton that is placed on the very front of the ice-cream tub, perhaps the work questions the relationship between death and commercialisation. 

One could argue that Alfrey’s appropriations refer to the artist’s fascination with Popular culture and the advertisements also feature a contemporary, retro style. Alfrey’s work also features similarities to Jason’s Edmiston’s work, which also mimics Popular Culture through humorous appropriations of fictional characters from film and television.

Brent Engstrom: Head & Smolders 2010 – Wacky Packages, “ANS” 7

Brent Engstrom also created some work as part of Alfrey’s ‘Wacky Packages’ collection and I was instantly amused when I discovered this particular illustration. Head & Shoulders is also replaced with ‘Head & Smolders’, which also displays a skeletal figure in a state of despair as the shampoo turns into flames. The product design or advertisement also features a sense of humour and irony as the shampoo begins to reveal its damaging effects.

Engstrom is an artist / illustrator who has worked for a range of large commercial companies and other creative industries, as referenced by the artist’s official website. In reference to Engstrom’s Blog, the original concept / design for ‘Head & Smolders’ was created by Mark Parisi and the artist worked upon the sketches in order to finalise the illustration. Engstrom’s work is quite similar to Alfrey’s ‘Dead & Buried’, for a while I thought these two particular illustrations were created by the same artist! 

Engstrom’s work definitely compliments the other illustrations / paintings within the ‘Wacky Packet’ series, there are so many different designs and appropriations to search through. If you are interested in viewing the rest of the ‘Wacky Packet’ collection, I would definitely recommend visiting Engstrom’s blog or Alfrey’s website. 

P.S I have edited the blog post, I originally thought that the ‘Dead & Buried’ painting was created by Brett Engstrom. I wish to thank Bazooka Joe for pointing this out, I decided to undertake some further research and I have now corrected error. I hope you enjoy the updated version. 

Images & References

Mark Alfrey, http://www.markalfrey.com/WACKY.html

Kimberly Powell, “Garcia: Name Meaning & Origin,” About Parenting, 2014, http://genealogy.about.com/od/surname_meaning/p/garcia.htm

Wacky Artist, http://www.wackyartist.com/head&smolders.html

Brent Engstrom, “About” http://www.brentengstrom.com/about.html#

Brent Engstrom’s Blog, “Wacky Packages All New Series 7 2010” Thursday 26th, 2010, http://monkeyboycomic.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/wacky-packages-all-new-series-7-2010.html

Jason Edmiston Illustration, “Biography”, 2010, http://www.jasonedmiston.com/biography.html


2 responses to “Mark Alfrey & Brent Engstrom

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