Dienzo Honors Bettie Page


Sadly, we missed this show, but in early February, Hyaena, an "outsider" art gallery in Burbank, CA, hosted a Bettie Page Tribute group show. We loved what they had to say in the program for the show:
Bettie Page, the Queen of Pin-Ups passed away late last year, leaving millions of fans to mourn the loss of one of the world’s greatest beauties. In life, Bettie was the epitome of what this gallery represents. She pushed boundaries in a conservative society and was at the front lines of controversy. Censorship, sexuality…she broke ground in these areas and inspired generations with her strength, courage and pride.

Nowhere has this loss been felt so heavily as in the Art World. From Dave Stevens to Olivia and countless other fine, outsider, and lowbrow artists, her image has touched men and women alike. Her face alone invokes mystery and duality…a purity and naughtiness that beckons us all. Bettie Page is permanently ingrained in our pop culture and in our hearts. This tribute show is a celebration of her legacy and her continued inspiration.
Dienzo's piece caught our eye for the dark whimsy in his work. We weren't shocked to learn he has spent time in the commercial world, working at CARTOON NETWORK, as his pieces have a very clean, bold sense of design. His work, true to the Pop Art aesthetic that informs it, conjures a host of feelings but, on inspection, isn't derivitive of any other artist. Sure, the goth-kawaii noodling of Tim Burton spring to mind, as does Burton's inspirations, Gahan Wilson, Edward Gorey and Charles Addams. However, just as strongly felt is the detrus of a 70's childhood... FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND covers, snap-together model kits and other pieces of nightmarish painted commerce. Like animation, paintings like Dienzo's can seem "simple", but few things are conceptually more challenging than designing and executing such graphicially concise characters with and abundance of what the Disney masters used to call "appeal".

When asked by the Bettie Page Blog to illuminate us as to his thought process, Dienzo explained his facination with the duality between light and dark, good and evil, tying it into the core of Bettie Page's appeal:

"I've deliberately chosen to juxtapose the dark and light aspects of each character throughout my work. Be it literally in the form of childlike zombies and vampires, or by thematic tones of darkness saved by innocence - like cute female assassins.

Bettie Page has served to inspire me not only from a surface level of aesthetic beauty, but also from that same endearing quality of being an "innocent-provocateur." Her iconic presence permeates so many sub-genres of art, music and culture that being influenced by her is almost entirely unavoidable.

I created three Bettie inspired pieces to capture different aspects of the woman we've come to admire.




"Bettie Whipping" is indicative of her risque, bondage era photography. It shows her as powerful woman in control with the sharp contrast of black and yellow reinforcing the impactful nature of that style.

"Bettie Purring" is meant to show her as the quintessential vixen. An object of desire with the leopard print and warm tones evoking primal instincts of attraction.

And finally, "Bettie Dreaming" is meant to capture her underlying innocence and naivete. Throughout her life she struggled with reconciling her own morality against public perception and that inner goodness is part of what made her so appealing as a "girl next door." I also thought it fitting to immortalize her with eyes closed and forever dreaming, given her recent passing.

I hope these pieces serve to honor her and inspire others to keep her legacy alive."

Rick "DIENZO" Blanco
's work can next be seen publicly at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors.

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