Fug and Fab the W Covers: Jessica Chastain

Apparently the idea behind this was to make Chastain the “blank canvas” for four different artists. Except by definition I think that’s impossible, and in fact, I also don’t think that correctly defines what they did. Still, it’s fun to see what each one came up with — some better than others, but none better, in my mind, than this one. Now if only they’d do it with SWINTON.

[Photos: W]

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Comments (34):

  1. marie

    i first saw this over at TLo and all i could think of was WWSD – what would SWINTON do?

  2. pidget

    I really like the full version of the cover shot best. Second fave is the blackboard one. Both have original aspects, and are arresting in their own ways.

  3. TonyG

    That first cover is superlative in every way. Never mind, Chastain purchasing the full-size version as a painting, I want one for myself!

  4. Joemama

    Kind of reminds me of Tori Amos’ Strange Little Girls album covers.

  5. Emily

    The strangest thing about that first photo, to me, is that she seems to be holding her mouth quite straight but the lipstick gives the effect of a crazy, mean sneer. I like it!

  6. ErinE

    OK, slide 4 combined with this comment cracked me up! “And if I were Jessica Chastain, I would have such a complex from this that I would never Skype anyone again.”

    Perhaps this makes me uncouth, but sometimes I just do not get art.

    • Kat

      Nah, it doesn’t make you uncouth. I spent a year in art school and ran screaming. A lot of “art” is so contrived, and it’s entirely subjective! Whew. I need to take a deep breath.

  7. pantsonfire

    The first photo is terrific. Aside from the artistic aspect (which I think was appealing and successful), the hair is lovely and her right-side makeup is perfection. She should do it like that more often on the red carpet. I also think I really like what she’s wearing (from what we can see).

    For me, the Scarface photo gets failing marks. NOT because it’s displeasing aesthetically (it isn’t–I actually like this type of photography and styling), but because that feels like a complete end-run around the assignment. Magazines pose their models in scenes from film and literature ALL THE TIME. So this isn’t new or original, and it doesn’t deviate whatsoever from fairly standard fashion photography practice.

  8. Helen

    The blackboard one is interesting and looks like a Real Idea, but the only one I find interesting and also like is the George Condo. He’s stealing an awful lot from Picasso, there, but that’s a pretty good place to steal from.

    Hate the multi-colored manicure, however. To me that doesn’t add to the effect, it’s just distracting.

  9. Vi

    Maybe they should have placed her left hand differently in Slide 1. It looks like she is give the best one a ‘thumbs-down’.

  10. Stefanie

    The Skype one looks like it was done by the lady who “restored” that Fresco in Spain.


    I too prefer the first.

  11. TereLiz

    Eh, the Scarface one reminds me moe of Boogie Nights. And for what it’s worth, Heather, I don’t think you’re missing anything not watching Scarface. IMO, it’s overrated, violent and misogynistic, but then, I tend not to enjoy violent testosterone movies when they’re focused on drug kingpins or organized crime. My husband nearly broke up with me when we were dating because I said I didn’t like Goodfellas. Luckily, he likes movies like Fried Green Tomatoes and A League of Their Own, too, so we’re not completely at odds movie-wise. ;)

  12. ceecee

    The second one looks like a mug shot from a wedding reception that ended very badly.

  13. hdew

    Dijkstra’s photo is just like the rest of her photography (look up her beach portrait series) which, perhaps doesn’t make her subjects look “pretty” but just tries to capture them in their element. I’m guessing, for an actress (and given the environment in which they work/live) make up is not artifice, it’s just part of what they do everyday.

    For the last one, I wonder, why would you have a complex about a representation that clearly is not supposed to be realistic or naturalistic? (meaning it doesn’t strive to represent the subject “as it is” but to bring out other characteristics that the artist sees as important or meaningful. For example, she looks kind of awkward, uncomfortable and serious, traits that we often don’t see in traditional, glossy, magazine images of Hollywood actresses).

    I tend to favor the idea that it’s more productive to think about art pieces in terms of what they do rather than how “good” they are.

    • jenny

      A lot of what makes Dijkstra’s photographs so compelling, though, is that the people are total strangers. It’s an interesting experiment here, but to me, it just doesn’t play with a celebrity.

      • hdew

        True, though one could argue that celebrities are strangers as well: we recognize them but we don’t (really) know them. But I do see your point.

  14. witjunkie

    …Les Miserables is all anyone can talk about right now, but come on, let’s not let it become a style.

    I have been so afraid of this happening.

  15. Maria

    Are we being facetious about that last one? Maybe I’m a dope, but…I can’t see her. How can she look amazing when she is essentially just an outline?

  16. Mara

    “if I were Jessica Chastain I’d ask for a giant version of this so I could hang it in my house. Maybe right in the entryway, or in the guest loo.”

    Yes! Like Siobhan! Man, I miss Ringer.

  17. Esme

    To me the #5 portrait is more “Scarfacey” than the other–she looks like Tony Montana’s sister with her Cuban “fro.” That Skype thing will haunt me until the end of my days.

  18. Aj

    #7 is very Elsa Lanchester/Bride of Frankenstein.

  19. Tamburlaine

    That George Condo one is fantastic, but I do actually like the Dijkstra one – it just emphasises what a lovely face she has.

  20. LMM

    The painting one looks like the woman who “fixed” the Spanish fresco got hold of Jessica Chastain.

  21. Vandalfan

    Fancy Schmancy High Art is OK in museums, but up front at the 7-11checkout stand, with the Bic lighters and packets of stale nuts?

  22. Yoka

    W doesn’t say it’s a blank canvas but a human canvas, so that makes a bit of a difference right?

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  24. Trina

    I got the Skype painting cover in the mail and I told my roommate that if I were Jessica Chastain, I would not allow that to be published.

  25. katkin74

    That whole thing was less “art” than “horrible”. The only redeeming picture is the 8th, or cover that you too liked. That was something; had something to it. The others, looks like the artists phoned it in. Yuck.