Paintings of Superheroes in Bags by Simon Monk

Clark Kent © Simon Monk
Clark Kent © Simon Monk

Simon Monk has created a body of work exploring the objectification of comic book superheroes. His realist paintings point to the schism between the power and potency superheroes exhibit in comic books versus the emasculation they face when bagged and hooked. The ongoing series is called Secret Identity:

Every superhero has a secret identity, a civilian persona where they may lead a normal life temporarily free of superheroic pressures.

Monk names each painting according to the superhero’s “regular” identity. Spiderman is Peter Parker, etc.

Superhero Bag © Simon Monk
Superhero Bag © Simon Monk

Monk compares these issues of identity to the situation of a painter:

The visual fantasies which fill a painter’s head must inevitably be reduced to an image, robbed of much of their superpower…the multifariousness of an individual’s persona is condensed in the studio to that of the artist; a secret in itself.

The artist paints many other things in bags, and he talks a bit about why here. Click through for more of Monk’s paintings of superheroes in bags, and see if you feel compelled to open some of those “mint on card” action figures you’ve been hoarding…

[UPDATE: These paintings are now available as prints!]

Steve Rogers © Simon Monk
Steve Rogers © Simon Monk
Dr. Bruce Banner superheroes in bags
Dr. Bruce Banner © Simon Monk
Dr. Donald Blake superheroes in bags
Dr. Donald Blake © Simon Monk
Peter Parker superheroes in bags
Peter Parker © Simon Monk