Art Criticism: An Articulate Lion

We all know the lion as “The King Of The Jungle”. The lions might have trademarked that phrase because none of the other animals seem to challenge the issue. Trademark or not, we accept it because we’ve heard it again and again. I’ve always thought it was a pretentious title.

Besides, the jungle holds more than one lion, but there can be only one king. The fact that there are so many “kings” probably contributes to the jungle being a poorly organized place.

And all lions get the “King Of The Jungle” title. It doesn’t matter if it applies to them or not. A lion who lives in a zoo is likely the king of his enclosure, but it would be hard for that cat to argue he has any influence over jungle affairs. It hardly seems fair that a kept lion bears the same title as a working lion.

Today’s art critique has nothing to do with jungle monarchy. It delves into the realm of animal art because it is a painting of a lion.


I obscured the phone number. The lion spoke it very clearly.


This lion is painted on the side of a business that has declared itself “king of” the industry they are in.

This cat is very articulate and well versed in communication technology. Lions who know their own phone number are rare. Those who can recall the phone number of a favorite entrepreneur are even harder to find.

I’m impressed by the level of detail in the mouth and teeth of the lion. I suppose, if you’re painting a talking lion, the mouth is always the focal point. Given that the teeth and jaw region is the important part of any lion, articulate or not, I suppose it always will be the center of attention. But the detail fades as you move to other parts of the cat. Cast your eye in any direction from the mouth and it will land upon indistinct mane.

A poorly groomed lion garners no respect. The lion’s impressively detailed fangs do inspire a certain level of fear. That is where the artist went awry.

Fear And Respect Are Two Different Things

The artist made a common, yet critical error by confusing respect and fear.

A shop owner usually wants to have their place recognized as a respected purveyor of product. I’m not out here on a limb, am I? I don’t go to Smelly Cat Coffeehouse because I fear the owner, staff or cats. I go because I like and respect the people there (and cats). By focusing on the natural fear in a lion encounter, the artist has done his patron a disservice.

Now, I’ll freely admit that repainting a living room wall challenges my artistic limit. That doesn’t mean I can’t tell that this is a bad painting. And I can tell you that the scale of this work doesn’t do it any favors. If we examined this same painting rendered postage stamp size there would be so much more to like about it. Magnified to larger than life proportion, this painting reflects poorly upon the artist.

(See some art that needs criticism? Send it to me. I’m always on the lookout for art that has that certain something, or lacks that certain something. You can see all the art I’ve criticized here.)


23 Comments on “Art Criticism: An Articulate Lion”

  1. The detail fades especially when you get to the lion’s body, as it seems to be non-existent beneath a floating lion’s head, sporting radical surfer-dude frosted tips.

    Also, bonus points for ‘awry’ and for the ska video.

  2. omawarisan says:

    A floating lion’s head is more intimidating than one that is attached. The free floating head is not constrained at all and can move in directions complete lions can’t.

    And I know it isn’t pronounced aw-ree. Good school.

  3. List of X says:

    I don’t understand why any lion deserves the title of “King of the Jungle”. They don’t even live in the jungle.

    • omawarisan says:

      See!? At best, they are Sultan of the Savannah. I think the King of the Jungle thing is a reflection of our political discussion now. If you say it enough it becomes the truth.

  4. Laura says:

    That lion looks less like the King of the Jungle and more like the King of the Lawn. Also, I think he may be on fire.

  5. The hair-do is a little too emo, which ruins the effect of toughness.

  6. Debbie says:

    Mercy, the poor dear doesn’t have FEET!! Why are we expected to fear anything that can’t run after us??

  7. I’m loving this tune. This is me popping around my house bouncing my head.

    • omawarisan says:

      I love Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. This one is in English, but most of their stuff isn’t and I have no idea what’s going on in the song. I don’t care. They just rock that hard.

  8. I don’t like the neon green…. Is the lion from outer space?

  9. Blogdramedy says:

    Is this going to be a series? Lions, tigers and bears. Oh. My.

  10. stevebetz says:

    I can’t say that a roaring lion would make me want to buy anyone’s product. Quality cute puppy use, however? I’m your customer.

  11. If the business in question is some sort of hair salon, then the lion did it an especially harsh disservice. Clearly the puddy-tat was over zealous with the styling products before posing for the painting. I score this one and a half lumps of bloody meat out of a possible five, and that’s being generous.

  12. planetross says:

    Hopefully it wasn’t an ad for a wood company.

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