Jeanette Hayes: Splashing Anime onto Modern Masterpieces

“Film is the highest form of art, in my opinion.”

New York-based painter and multimedia artist Jeanette Hayes takes whatever she likes from art history, Internet culture, computer software, and fashion, and smashes these worlds together. She has splashed figures from the Japanese shōjo manga Sailor Moon into the foreground of Picasso’s Cubist masterwork Les Demoiselles d’Avignon to create Les demoiselles d’anime, and into the paintings of Willem de Kooning to create her series De Mooning.

For our partnership with Metrograph, Hayes chose to reimagine the 1960’s comedy spy film Modesty Blaise. Here’s what she had to say about the fictional femme fatale.

Modesty Blaise is a cool character who has generated tons of comic books, a novelization, and is a cult favorite, but hasn’t fared quite as well in the film world, with the Joseph Losey version undergoing lots of changes from the comic book—although it has generated interest from the likes of Quentin Tarantino. Was that part of what appealed to you for this project?

Monica Vitti is one of my favorite actresses ever. This is such a strange film, but her being the star makes it great. It’s a bizarre film, so I knew I could make a bizarre poster.

The poster is truly a riot of imagery, with a dinosaur, flowers, hearts, stars, a scorpion, and much more. What went into your choices of iconography?

I always love a cacophony of imagery, and the chaos of this film easily lends itself to that. Modesty Blasie’s scorpion tattoo was the most important element for me, and everything else built around that. The hidden details are for spy enthusiasts everywhere.

Are you a big movie head? What are some of the ways movies inspire you or provoke you in your own work?

Movies inspire and affect everyone. Cinema has changed the way people see everything, and as a painter this is something I think about constantly. Film is the highest form of art, in my opinion.