Fly Art/Formation

I first learned about Fly Art through a shared Facebook link. A website called Rad.co was selling t-shirts and prints with paintings that had rap lyrics on top of them in a white sans-serif font. Some of the funnier ones that I remember include the Mona Lisa with “Somebody please tell em who the eff I is” (from “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj), a Degas painting of ballerinas with “Up in the gym just workin on my fitness” (“Fergalicious”), and a painting of Apollo in a flying chariot with “Lamborghini mercy.”

I appreciate Fly Art because it connects themes between older paintings and rap music, two categories that are separated by their target audiences. The paintings and the lyrics work together and simultaneously give each other new dimensions. In my opinion, the lyrics give these paintings a new relevance and make them more accessible, while highlight the aspects of the paintings that continue to be relevant.

Everyone (aside from anyone who lives under a rock.. or anyone who has no interest in pop culture for whatever reason) has heard of Beyoncé’s new song “Formation.” Fly Art’s last five posts have used lyrics from Formation, but a few of them didn’t resonate with me. The connections feel shallow, particularly in the cross between a Gaugin painting of a Tahitian woman and the lyrics “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana.” I interpreted Beyoncé’s lyrics as a representation of pride in her heritage, whereas all I see in Gaugin’s painting is the objectification of an “exotic” woman. I don’t see a real connection between the painting and the lyrics.

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