The Mouseketeers in Iraq (2004)
The Mouseketeer Paintings

As with most children of the 1950s and 1960s, I was enthralled with the Mouseketeers. I wanted what they had—talent, beauty, fame—but wasn’t sure how it attain it, especially in Lexington, Kentucky. My friends and I wrote plays, made costumes, persuaded our neighbors to watch our performances, and yearned for that lucky break, the moment when some mythical adult would validate us, would lift us out of obscurity, would sprinkle fairy dust on our heads. 

The Mouseketeer paintings are based partially on the remembered and imagined recollections of my childhood aspirations, and partially on photographs reproduced in a history of the Mouseketeers.  A graphite scrawled text—written over and over until the words become impossible to read—forms the background of the paintings.  This “fairy tale” is my creation, a dream of glory, a mantra of hope. The stark black gesso and graphite background of the paintings are then overlaid with an image of a Mouseketeer painted with Tar Gel—an acrylic medium that when tinted pink is as sticky and sweet as desire can be.

In 2004, this series evolved into paintings on the subject of war, The Mouseketeers in Iraq. The “backdrop paper” is a soldier’s report from the battlefront. As harsh as the Mouseketeers in Iraq might appear, the subject matter of these paintings, the resilience of the human spirit, transcends the physical destruction of the individuals portrayed.

Like all dreams, the reality of life is much different than we might anticipate. There may be cracks and crevices, where darkness slips in. The smooth and glossy surface may bubble and flow like lava. Innocence may be lost and beauty defiled. However, there is a magnificence in this process of living, akin to the process of making art. Both can be fulfilling, profoundly invigorating. 
and arduous—a constant testing of our imagination, a “wish upon a star.” 

Judith Page