Artist Transforms Thrift Shop Paintings Into Nerdy Masterpieces

Thrift shop painting cameos for Stormtroopers and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

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David Irvine,
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David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.
David Irvine, "Re-Directed Art." Photo: Gnarled Branch.

You’ve never seen thrift shop paintings like this.

Illustrator David Irvine’s “Re-Directed Art” series of paintings is perhaps the most delightfully ingenious instance of appropriation art yet: the artist mines Salvation Army stores, garage sales, and curbsides for old paintings, prints, and lithographs, then adds in his own nerdy touches and transforms generic scenes into ones that integrate clever pop culture references.

The results are hugely enjoyable and touched with whimsy. Appearing in tired, old paintings, beloved characters like Ghostbusters‘ Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Spider-Man, and the beasts from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are tower above what appears to be a 19th-century city street, frolic with farmers, and fish in a bucolic stream.

As the artist’s website, Gnarled Branch, puts it, “these neglected, awaiting potential landfill paintings, are now given a second chance.”

Generally Irvine apes the style and colors of the piece he’s altering, creating a seamless transition between the original work and his own addition. Double-take worthy pieces include a menacing-looking Godzilla approaching a peaceful lake house and an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars mowing a suburban lawn.

The artist also employs contrast to excellent effect, juxtaposing colorful comic figures with traditional landscapes, or painting 16-bit video game characters onto a Last Supper scene, the 12 apostles suddenly doubling as spectators at a fight.

If the idea of a traditional maritime seascape improved by a pair of giant rubber ducks strikes your fancy, Irvine sells his work on Etsy. Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for the art-loving nerd in your life.


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