• Seb Lester

Tiger King Heraldry Project

The Tiger King series on Netflix manages to be a farce and a tragedy at the same time. It’s beyond parody, compelling viewing largely because almost all the people depicted seem so unreal, like dystopian cartoon characters. I wanted to try to create a piece of satirical art about the show. The underlying themes are so violent and medieval, and the imagery so graphic and rich, that the subject lends itself perfectly to heraldry. This piece is intended to be sardonic social commentary, not veneration or celebration. Perhaps this won’t be clear enough for a subject as polarising in pop culture because, although much of the symbolism is obvious, some of it is more nuanced. The biggest criticism I have read of this series is that the animal welfare issues that should be at the heart of a documentary about these beautiful and majestic creatures gets lost in the melee, and I am inclined to agree. The original plan was to release this as a print, with all profits going to a suitable animal rights charity. On reflection I don’t have the appetite for any potential legal problems that might arise, and some of the logistics involved, so I’ve decided not to do that. But these are the type of projects I find most stimulating at the moment, complex with big new learning curves.

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