‘Happy Larry’ is slightly different from the rest of the ‘Urban Graffiti’ artwork and is a fascinating painting that crosses several artistic genres. Whilst taking elements of Paul’s ‘Urban’ influences, he veers into ‘Surrealism’ and ‘Pop Art’ yet never loses his focus on ‘Realism’ in the detail.
Set within the universe rather than the traditional brick wall, this piece also manages to traverse and transcend time and space. There are echoes of the past that some of the sayings and lyrics may evoke, creating a reminiscent air of ‘Happy Days’ gone by and yet the imagery is very current.
The phrase ‘Happy as Larry’ originates from a newspaper headline about a boxer (Larry Foley) in the 1890’s and has since been popularised as a common expression meaning extremely happy and carefree. The boxing glove leant up against the ‘crock of gold’ is a nod to this.
Many of you will recall ‘Larry’ the lamb as both a movie in 1947 and later a character in the T.V. series ‘Stories from Toytown’. In this depiction ‘Larry’ is situated on a street paved with gold – a term that is said to have stemmed from the 19th century story of Dick Whittington and his cat and generally is interpreted as meaning seeking opportunity and potential wealth.
The graffiti-esc lettering ‘Happy Days’ dominating the painting is another popular saying used when things are good and going well.
They are set in a night sky, hence the stars and planets in the back ground with the world, moon and stars relating to other upbeat tunes, that many of you will be familiar.
The clouds in the blue lettering relate to the adage ‘On cloud 9’ when someone is euphoric with joy.
The green ‘A’ has a number of references to money and there is a 4 leaf clover which represents ‘faith, hope, love and luck’. It is often said that 4 leaf clover abound in Ireland hence the expression ‘The luck of the Irish’.
The yellow ‘P‘ is covered in ‘smilies’, emojis that are common these days, used to convey happiness, gratitude and affection. If you look carefully you will see that there are some cameras, hence the chunk of cheese – a reference to the encouragement to smile when photographs are taken.
The red P is covered in hearts which symbolise affection, love and the rose rising up from the street is for the idiom ‘Everything is coming up Roses’.
The rainbow is a symbol of hope, beauty after a storm and a pot of gold or good fortune are waiting at the rainbows end. They are also used to symbolise inclusivity and diversity an all – embracing image of love and friendship.
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