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Tom Sanford Comments On Reaction To Dimebag Darrell Painting

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Band Photo: Damageplan (?)

Artist Tom Sanford, whose painting of the assassination of Dimebag Darrell is to be auctioned this weekend, has issued the following statement through his website about the controversy surrounding the piece:

"It seems that my 2005 painting 'The Assassination of Dimebag Darrell' is going back to auction and this has re-ignited the ire of Dimebag’s fans. In fact I learned of the auction through a surge in the regular trickle of hate mail/criticism that this piece engenders. Roadrunner records blog, called Blabbermouth, posted a short (and i thought remarkably fair) article about my painting and the upcoming Phillips de Purdy auction. This post was picked up by various other metal blogs and was heavily commented on by their readers. The post linked to my website, and led to an onslaught of email to me. Most of the email amounted cursing me out while accusing me of crimes ranging from poor taste to exploiting the death of Dimebag. I guess that I am guilty of both.

"Back in early 2005, when I made the painting, the reaction of Dimebag’s fans was actually not on my mind. I was interested in this tragedy as a historical event that occurred in our media saturated world, but was without a defining image of the event. Normally the pervasive 24-hour news and infotainment industry is able to define news worthy events with an image or video. In this case the event was only captured in the accounts of witnesses who saw the horrific event live at the Alrosa Villa. This afforded me an opportunity to make a painting that might be the only visual depiction of the tragedy, and yes I exploited this opportunity.

"In my defense I thought it to be an extremely significant event, and one that needed to be remembered. I thought my painting might help remember the tragedy. The painting is certainly in poor taste, but I think that when one is describing a mass murder, etiquette is really not an issue.

"Poor taste is pretty much the baseline criteria for my work, so fundamental to my project that I really do not consider it when I make a painting. I have no interest in being in good taste. My work is always subjective, inaccurate and incorrect, and I stand behind this position. I am however surprised that Metal fans would be so sensitive to taste, as it seems that their genre of music operates in a context without taste. For fucks sake, Dimebag played a guitar with a rebel flag painted on it! For any non Americans who might read this, the rebel flag is a symbol of the civil war era American south. While it is not solely a symbol of a pro-slavery political position, it cannot be divorced from this meaning, much like the swastika is forever linked to the holocaust. While I would not pretend to know Dimebag’s views on anything, and certainly not race, I do think this guitar shows he was not concerned with issues of etiquette or sensitivity to people’s feelings. I would hope I would be allowed a similar social leeway as a fellow artist. Neither paintings nor flags kill people – crazy fucks like Nathan Gale do.

"More generally, I certainly respect anyone’s right to get their panties in bunch about something they find offensive. But I can’t help but be amused by the irony of this particular situation. The iconography of metal heavily features imagery of violence. The culture police are constantly complaining about its offensive and obscene song lyrics. Many, many metal albums depict images of war, rape, murder etc etc. And when the PMRC (et al.) complain I would be the first to tell them to shove it up their ass. I didn’t mean this painting to be offensive, but I am not in the least bit sorry if it is. That is not to say that I don’t empathize with the family and friends of Dimebag and all the victims, their loss must have been horrible beyond anything I can comprehend. But Art’s job is not to be polite.

"I guess this little dust up between me and a few vocal metal fans gets at larger issues in my work and I am glad to get the chance to address them. For the most part I am of the opinion that most contemporary painting has little relevance in our larger culture, except for that some paintings can be extremely valuable luxury goods. But since I really love making paintings, and it’s all I’ve ever been much good at or interested in, I try to think of ways to make paintings that are relevant memes in our current context. I admit that I fail at this often, however all of the hubbub around this painting confirms it as a success in terms of my criteria (despite its extremely low monetary value judging by auction estimates!) I honestly didn’t make this painting with the intention of being transgressive (and I have made things with that goal in mind and would gladly admit it). That being said the fact that this painting is so extremely controversial in some circles is a testament to the power a painting can have and i guess this is extremely empowering for artists."

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37 Comments on "Tom Sanford Comments On Dimebag Darrell Painting"

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Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

1. Diamond Oz writes:

"Poor taste is pretty much the baseline criteria for my work"

Followed by...

"I didn’t mean this painting to be offensive"

How can you do a painting you know is in poor taste and be surprised when people find it offensive?

"The iconography of metal heavily features imagery of violence."

This is true to some extent, but artwork of zombies and demons killing people is fantasy, nothing more. What this turd has done is taken an actual murder of four people and done a crap doodling of it.

"For f***s sake, Dimebag played a guitar with a rebel flag painted on it!"

Followed by...

"But art's job is not to be polite."

So it's one rule for musicians and another for "artists"?

I'll stop here.

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 7:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Jenny's avatar

Member

2. Jenny writes:

"Back in early 2005, when I made the painting, the reaction of Dimebag’s fans was actually not on my mind. I was interested in this tragedy as a historical event that occurred in our media saturated world, but was without a defining image of the event."

Fair enough...however...

"The painting is certainly in poor taste, but I think that when one is describing a mass murder, etiquette is really not an issue."

I think it IS an issue. I don't mind people depicting something, but the style in which things are depicted says a lot. Art is a language; one must learn how to "speak" through it with the mood a piece creates.

"I am however surprised that Metal fans would be so sensitive to taste, as it seems that their genre of music operates in a context without taste."

Jerk.

"I didn’t mean this painting to be offensive, but I am not in the least bit sorry if it is. That is not to say that I don’t empathize with the family and friends of Dimebag and all the victims, their loss must have been horrible beyond anything I can comprehend. But Art’s job is not to be polite."

Agreed with this. Art that causes controversy is still Art, (although some will disagree with me on that); it just depends why/how something causes controversy. BUT, I will still hold on to the opinion that HOW you depict something says a lot.
It's like what Supastan said: "He could of captured the feel of the night with out such blatant disrespect its horrible piece and was hoping this would be an emotionally moving piece even with some hint of violence....if this was done in a more artistic way and actually showed some respect I don't think i would be so upset."

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 8:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

3. brandedcfh420 writes:

im waiting for the news piece of where he is beatdown in the street!!

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 8:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. cdp14 writes:

This guy is a total d***.

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 9:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
murder667's avatar

Member

5. murder667 writes:

^^^^ I would love to do that myself

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 9:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalBro4Life's avatar

Member

6. MetalBro4Life writes:

He has every right to paint or say anything he wants. The man is brilliant because of the fact that he gets a bunch twisted-minded, uneducated metalheads up in arms and actually gets them to react like the PMRC did in the 80s. Simply put, you all are acting like closed-minded, hypocritical Christians. If you don't like it, don't look at it! I respect Dimebag for his music and agree that the imagery might be ill-conceived, but it is still art because it provokes a reaction. Maybe it'll get you people, though I doubt it, to get off your lazy, pot-smoking asses and go to a museum and look at things way more shocking and revolting. That is REAL ART, and I support Sanford!

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 10:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

7. Diamond Oz writes:

1. I don't smoke pot
2. The art community also believes that a woman sh**ting on a bed is genius art. I don't trust the art community.
3. He's brilliant because he gets people up in arms? We have them here too, they're called trolls. Why we should we take kindly to an artist who does a painting he knows to be in poor taste and not take a liking to people who say things for a deliberate reaction?
4. What's so great about museums and exhibitions? If someone isn't interested in something, they shouldn't be made to feel like an idiot for not spending their money to look at things they don't care about.

Another thing that bugged me about the artists statement was the "For f***s sake, Dimebag played a guitar with a rebel flag on it!" I can't tell if he's genuinly shocked that a man would use a guitar design that he feels is in poor taste (oh ze irony!) or if he's trying to shift the focus away from himself. It's like if a kid gets into trouble for picking on another kid and tries to get out of it by going, "But Miss, they did this and they say that..." it doesn't work for the child, the artist shouldn't feel it'll take the focus away (at least that is my interpretation).

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 10:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. thegoosegoblin writes:

This guy's an idiot. I'm currently studying in college to be an M.D. someday. Can you imagine any other profession where you get paid for this kind of attitude?

(Quotes lifted from Oz's post)

"Poor medicinal practice is pretty much the baseline criteria for my work"

"I didn’t mean for this operation to kill my patient"

"Doctors on the TV series "Scrubs" are stupid too."

"For f***s sake, this patient had his a$$ beaten in for an offensive painting"

"But medicine's job isn't to make people feel better."

# Nov 11, 2009 @ 11:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. RTB writes:

You know sometimes i cant tell sh!t from shinola, but what the fahq did he just say?
A ramble that makes no sense to me,

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 12:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. METAL213 writes:

I give him respect for admitting his flaws. I don't really care that he made a painting of Dime's death but I do hate that it's being auctioned and getting a lot of attention. Stuff like this should never be made public and should remain secret. It's not like anyone makes public viewings of paintings depicting the murders of John Lennon, Tupac, or B.I.G. so neither should there be one about Dime. STAY METAL MY FRIENDS!

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:22 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. purehatred2010 writes:

Could you imagine back when JFK was shot if someone did this people would have drug this guy out of house and hung him now I don't think it's such a big deal because it was a long time ago. I think now is not the time for a painting to come out like this give it 30 years that way it don't feel like it is so fresh in our minds.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 3:48 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
tallica_fan's avatar

Member

12. tallica_fan writes:

MetalBro4Life you just generalised the whole metal community by insinuating we are all lazy, undereducated pot smokers. if you cant understand why the majority of metal fans would be upset about a sh**ty painting of a metal icon who was tragically taken in a situation of pure injustice merely a few years after the event then you are the one on drugs. for f***s sake the guy admits hes done it to stir sh** and that's what hes got. so i say he should face the consequences or burn that piece of sh** excuse for art and apologise. people are still grieving dime's death it is not a good idea to give us an excuse to vent the helpless feeling of loss by antagonising us, this guy is on par with that wanker that wrote the aesthetics of hate article.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 5:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Jamez's avatar

Member

13. Jamez writes:

Good point(s), Oz. Couldnt agree more.

Cute kid in your avatar, btw. Yours?

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 6:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. Fuzzypig writes:

I can't believe this crap over a picture!

Purely as an easy example, let's take 'that' cover of the Vital Remains album, you know the one with Jesus getting is face smashed-in, while still nailed the cross? That's OK, but a painting of one of our own at his moment of death is not? What's the difference? Oh yeah, we can dish it out but we can't take it? Is that it?

I don't give a toss for either quite frankly, but don't give me fake grief sh**, over a freaking picture being offensive when there are other images we willingly accept as part of entertainment sphere, that could be considered far worse in terms of taste and offence!

F**king hypocrites!

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. GrindBastard writes:

The guy is a hack of a caricature artist who would be a complete nobody if not for this. I was actually interested in seeing something *EXPRESSIVE*, thinking it might be a statement of emotion or something to ponder. That fact that his painting is an uninspired cartoon of someone being murdered, and that it would be easily completely trashed by his own art community lends absolutely zero credibility to his comments.

I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but if you're going to touch on a "historical event" that affected so many people, you better pull it off. He obviously didn't pull it off with this piece of sh*t.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

16. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers Jamez. No that's not my kid, just a picture I found in a reaction thread and I thought it was hilarious and cute at the same time, rather like me :P

On one more quote from this artist...

"My work is always subjective, inaccurate and incorrect"

In other words, "I suck."

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 9:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hater_guy's avatar

Member

17. hater_guy writes:

the painting sucks anyway

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 9:31 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
SmashTheTundra's avatar

Member

18. SmashTheTundra writes:

"The iconography of metal heavily features imagery of violence. The culture police are constantly complaining about its offensive and obscene song lyrics. Many, many metal albums depict images of war, rape, murder etc etc."

Does he think this makes it OK?
Poster 11 pretty muched summed it up, exactly how I feel.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Southern_Bastard's avatar

Member

19. Southern_Bastard writes:

He may be proud of his art's "poor taste" and "exploitation", but he should be ashamed of it's historical inaccuracy. After all, if his piece contains no appeal, no historical documentation (since it's innacurate), and certainly no artistic merit (it looks like a cartoon for christ sake) it's worthless garbage. No need to discuss further.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:15 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Supastan's avatar

Member

20. Supastan writes:

its a stupid inaccurate piece of trash not art not a tribute, trash, its not about being a hypocrite or "metal" or anything of the sort i know i speak to most metalheads when i say this is bullsh** to the core! no right minded metal head would ever glorify these violent acts for the sake of being catorgorized into a f***ing scene!! people take the music and they get into it it helps them cope it doesnt make them want to go out and do those things. its a release medication for the mind. and to be complety blunt ..metalbro- what if someone shot you in the face drew a stupid a$$ cartoon on canvas an told your family its just art no big deal. you just run your mouth to get a reaction you have shown in the past few months you care zero about the music or the people in it. i never read a single post from you that states anything positive or productive. though no one person will like every form of metal and will have their on opinions, you seem to hate everything this culture is about and based upon. you take two examples of metal (slayer and cannibal corpse) and generalize the whole community and belief systems off of their music.. slayer and cannibal corpse has NEVER did anything like this and never will. talk all you want about angel of death, psycopathy red or any other song but never once do they glorify the actions of the accused read the lyrics its a potty mouthed history lesson at most. and since you hang on slayers nutz as your whole damn argument ask kerry king what he thinks of this and if he would write about it in the way this guy painted it. kerry was one of his best friends i dare you to call him a close minded christian potthead. we wont even touch cannibal corpse anyone with half a brain knows it all fiction but you can for the sake of being heard.you need to crawl out of your hole because there are hundreds of thousands of metal bands that dont touch on violence at all and more so there are metal heads that wont listen to slayer or cannibal corpse because of these issues. you and this artist are big reasons metal takes a bad rap. to have violent or angry tendencies is human nature, by design we are a primal being with 3 things on our mind Feed, reproduce, and survive, but to follow through on these negative actions is not right or metal. he could of made a moving piece with the violence, i was hoping that this would show me that last few moments of his life, i wanted to feel some of the sadness the people felt and embrace it as a piece that would give a little closeure to family and friends i felt as though i needed to see it. but this is sh**, its like spitting in his face ,its comical, poorly put together and above all else not accurate. its like if someone drew a p***s on jfk after he died or teabagged chuck schulinder while he was taken his last breath... just because you draw stupid sh** doesnt make you an artist and just because people get mad doesnt make you an artist. to do something that is beautiful even through violence and to have it truley move someone is art. and through all my ranting i should of just said thanx to Post 17 because that rounds all this up perfectly. your right though he can say what he wants idiots usually speak the loudest. and you and him are lucky the computer seperates us because there is a time were enough is enough and someone just needs a good a$$ stomping..

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 12:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalBro4Life's avatar

Member

21. MetalBro4Life writes:

That reminds me, does anyone know where Dimebag was shot? I couldn't see it in the video footage. Art is about provocation and it is brilliant! RIP Darrell.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 1:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalBro4Life's avatar

Member

22. MetalBro4Life writes:

Also, let's bring up Marilyn Manson! Here's a guy who pushes a lot of people's buttons all in the name of art, who comments on his personal and society's malaise, and takes a lot of sh** from close-minded, ignorant a$$holes who theaten to kill him or blow up a venue where he is performing at, which also houses a couple thousand innocent fans of his. That is what you people sound like when you talk about beating this guy up or burning his work. Shut the f*** up and man up, people. This is the way it is, deal with it. RIP Darrell.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 1:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Lijemo's avatar

Member

23. Lijemo writes:

This guy is trying to have it both ways.

First he says: ""In my defense I thought it to be an extremely significant event, and one that needed to be remembered. I thought my painting might help remember the tragedy",

but then he follows it up with "I have no interest in being in good taste. My work is always subjective, inaccurate and incorrect, and I stand behind this position.".

Make up your mind, which is it? (Actually, looking at the painting itself makes it darn clear which it is...)

Why bother even trying to float the "in my defense..." bullsh** if you're just going to follow it up with "yeah, I did it to be a d***. But you're all d***s too, so neener neener." (and then backing up the "you're all d***s too" with a handful of empty stereotypes. nice.)

And this: "That being said the fact that this painting is so extremely controversial in some circles is a testament to the power a painting can have and i guess this is extremely empowering for artists." -- um, no. Powerful art can certainly (very often) be controversial, but controversial art (be it visual, musical, or whatever) is not automatically powerful. In fact, controversy can sometimes be used as a cheap substitute for any sort of substance.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

24. Diamond Oz writes:

You know a great example to bring up? Anal c***.

AC chose that name for their band because they knew it would get a reaction and cause controversy, but the music (or indeed their art) sucks.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
AGENT47's avatar

Member

25. AGENT47 writes:

everything he said is bullsh** because he did it for one reason and one reason only, he new it would net him a few dollors! and disrespecting a mans life by commemorating his death is absolue bullocks and does deserve some awful sh** to happen to him. all those who disagree- would feel the same if this guy pained a pic of one of your loved ones death and then sits back and makes money of it and gets recognition for being on the cutting edge? if he did that to someone close to me i would hunt him down and take his fuking balls! its one thing to take a photo of something like that happening its another to sit down and intentionaly paint something that will always remind people of there loss and the pain of something that should not have happened to make some money. all animosity toward him is warranted and justified.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

26. Blindgreed1 writes:

I don't smoke pot. I have a college eductaion and a full time job. I guess I'm not a metahead. Bye now. I'm going to go lick the cat's butt.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Lijemo's avatar

Member

27. Lijemo writes:

@Diamond Oz-- yup, the name "anal c***" has always sounded to me like something a couple of snickering 13-year-old boys would come up with when they were supposed to be doing their homework in study hall. It doesn't make me think "edgy and daring", it makes me roll my eyes and think "grow the fvck up". (Kind of like the painting under discussion. Which also looks like something a snickering 13 year old boy would doodle up in study hall to get a rise out of people.)

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
28. ozzie writes:

This guys 'art' is his interpretation of what happened on the night of Dime's death. I dont understand why everyone here is so up in arms about it. Just because its someone you respected, listened to, idolised? How is this any different to a band that writes a song about death, murder etc etc? He is allowed to his opinion, if you don't like that painting then don't buy it.
While I don't think it is very good taste, I have listened to music, seen paintings, read books which I have found alot more offensive than this picture.
I believe this artist has got exactly what he wanted from painting this - world wide publicity of his art which would have otherwise never have been heard of by anyone here.

# Nov 12, 2009 @ 5:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalBro4Life's avatar

Member

29. MetalBro4Life writes:

Post #28, that's exactly what I said. Art is meant to provoke and the man did his job right.

# Nov 14, 2009 @ 5:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Jamez's avatar

Member

30. Jamez writes:

Well, art Is meant to provoke, true, but with some level of good taste. And this is just a very very sh1tty thing to do

# Nov 15, 2009 @ 4:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
31. purehatred2010 writes:

Well I guess the only good thing about this is that it looked like something a 10 year old painted. I am a huge fan of dime I just don't think it's right to glorify a death by trying to paint an image of what happened. We all know what happened do people need to ever bring up that reminder? Not me it's almost like talking about a loved one since thats what I grew up to listening to. After he died I thought metal died that day to. It was a day I will always remember and never forget.

# Nov 16, 2009 @ 1:14 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

32. Blindgreed1 writes:

28 & 29: You can justify it any way you'd like. That doesn't make it right. Justifiable homocide is still a homocide and this by any other name is still sh!t.

# Nov 16, 2009 @ 11:31 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
cruor's avatar

Supporter

33. cruor writes:

"Art is meant to provoke and the man did his job right."

BULLsh**. Art is a form of expression not a controversy creator.

Now Playing: Alice in Chains- "Your Decision"

# Nov 16, 2009 @ 1:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

34. psythe writes:

You guys are all missing the point here. It doesn't matter if the artwork is in poor taste, if it was meant to be in poor taste, it doesn't matter if it's exploiting the death of a hero or anything like that. Here's what matters: Is the art good? The answer, in this case, is no. The artist is horrible at his job, the painting sucks, and there is therefore, and for that reason alone, no reason why anyone should endorse the painting or the painter.

The bottom line in art is always and only 'is it done well?'

# Nov 16, 2009 @ 8:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Dimeoflage's avatar

Member

35. Dimeoflage writes:

Sick of "artists" painting sh** thinking they can get away with it because its art..so if we went and killed someone he cared about then painted it.That would be okay ?

Most certainly not.

poor taste is an understatement.

# Dec 5, 2009 @ 7:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
trashnthrash's avatar

Member

36. trashnthrash writes:

Here's another artist who made something about Dimebag, but it's a video tribute: http://www.chrisbors.com/videos_DimebagDarrell.html

# Dec 11, 2009 @ 12:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
37. haha writes:

if the painting was good i would've had to talk sh** but look at it...why bother with this worthless artist. When he dies no one will know who he was.

# Dec 11, 2009 @ 1:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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