For this episode, I took a little walk down memory lane with my mother as we discussed the artistry of Homer Simpson. The Simpsons is one of the longest running scripted comedies in American history and Homer has become an iconic figure in pop culture. In season 10 episode 19 titled Mom and Pop Art, Homer becomes an outsider artist. While much of the humor is derived from the premise that Homer Simpson is inept and could never be a decent artist, but I thought it would be fun to consider what kind of an artist Homer really is.
His first sculpture was created accidentally from a failed attempt to build a backyard barbecue pit. After tastemakers declared the failed grill to be an artistic triumph, Homer leans in to his new career as an artist. Of course after the initial success that came so easily, Homer discovers that maintaining an art career is difficult as he presents a series of works that are considered too derivative of his earlier work as they all had the same feel behind them. This actually is one of the least true criticisms I observed in the satirical look at the art world. While in the Simpson's world art critics are fickle and looking to be constantly shocked, in reality one of the most sure paths to success is for an artist to develop a signature style so their work is easily identified to patrons. Consistency is crucial to an artist's marketability.
Still Homer's falling out of favor with critics led to a rare bit of introspection and growth for the character. Marge guides him through the museum and Homer applies his learning to creating one final masterpiece - The Grand Canals of Springfield. If you set aside the reckless destruction of property and the fact that such an act would have wreaked havoc endangering thousands of people and animals, it was actually a fairly interesting work. Ultimately, I consider Homer to be most interesting as a work of art rather than as an artist, but through any lens I find him delightful and thought provoking.