Late night was when the drama went down, see? The big cheese bootlegger thought he and his band of toughs were above the law. They were raking in the dough in that ratty dive, but I cracked the case wide open and hauled ‘em all off in bracelets.
(As you can see, I was channeling the pulp fiction detective story of the 50s when I set the scene for Vice Squad.)
Film noir aside, I came up with this idea after moving some of my many props into a storage unit. I had stashed all my vintage vises on a shelf, and when I saw them all lined up, “vice squad” popped into my head. From there, it was great fun to add other elements of vice, law enforcement, and the windup Dick Tracy patrol car.
I started the background with abstract scribbles and blobs of paint reminiscent of a graffiti-covered wall. I then painted over it until just the faintest trace was visible. The hardest thing to paint was the playing cards, it took several layers to get the white sufficiently opaque with the edges crisp.
Given the theatrical nature of the subject, I employed bright, stark lighting to increase the drama. The shadows are as important as the objects in this composition.
This painting was such fun to paint - I enjoyed myself with it so much that I documented each step of its creation. You can see its progression on Instagram.
To purchase Vice Squad, please contact the Richard B. Hall studio directly.