Second in the series: Max Romeo’s Chase the Devil

Lucifer son of the mourning, I’m gonna chase you out of Earth

-Max Romeo
Max Romeo’s Chase the Devil, 2022 by Sam Laughlin. Oils and acrylics, 16 x 20

Back when I had covid a few weeks ago, I had a lot of time to think. Some stuff came to the surface. In that state, I made this painting. When I was about halfway through, I realized it was the second in a series. My “why’d you name ’em like that” series.

The first one was David Bowie’s Young Americans, which I did a few years ago. At the time I gave it a very explicit reading on what I thought it meant. I very confidently explained the painting. But I think I was wrong.

Commonalities: Naked men. Eyes and ears covered. Colorful apocalypse in the background.

I’m gonna put on a iron shirt and chase Satan out of Earth
I’m gonna put on a iron shirt and chase the devil out of Earth
I’m gonna send him to outa space to find another race
I’m gonna send him to outa space to find another race

-Max Romeo

Both paintings are of men badly processing their traumas. Bowie is more about mass trauma processing. Mass guilt and the avoidance of public culpability. Everyone is together avoiding their reality. Just like the song. Romeo is a personal trauma that resides within an isolated individual. The Devil is chased out of the Earth. But the song has no resolution of the plot. He just says he’s going to do it. When the song ends, he’s still gonna chase the Devil out of Earth sometime in the future. The Devil is still there.

Art relates to life which is influenced by art and guides our own creation of life which is the creation of art. There’s a reason the skull has headlights.

This series is an experiment in writing out what I explicitly think of my own work. Trying to make the thought process clear enough that it can be followed. Through time these are breadcrumbs to follow my own path and not get lost along the way. The journey through trauma takes a lot of effort and time.

Here’s to chasing the Devil out of the Earth.