It was the spit heard round the world. When Flavor of Love contestant Pumpkin was bumped off in favor of rival Tiffany Pollard (New York), her final, dramatic gesture not only solidified the show, but Tiffany’s career in pop culture history. “Slap me, Bitch!” Is one of Vincenzo Dama’s most recognizable homages. Like the reality shows he recreates, each piece is equal parts cringeworthy and iconic. Dama’s aesthetic is excess, drama, celebrity and confrontation. Every scene is packed full of chaos, and Dama’s grotesque renditions make it all the more scandalous.
It’s hard to pinpoint what makes these drawings so good, so extra, but his massive tumblr popularity speaks for itself. Maybe we love reality tv, and Dama’s work by extension, because of humankind’s long history of parasocial relationships. Through media, we form intimate, one-sided connections with the characters we watch, identifying with some, demonizing others. This gives us our concepts of an ‘ideal person’, and our favorite celebrities either become role models or cautionary tales for society. We always see thinkpieces bemoan celebrity worship, but it’s an evolutionary part of life. The Egyptians and Greeks had gods, the British have the Royal family, and we have reality tv.
While he's only an artist part time, Vincenzo Dama has enjoyed steady internet fame, and has received shoutouts and DM’s from Logo TV, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Tiffany Pollard herself. Dama has a book of prints, Moments that Changed my Life, and a variety of other merch available online. All work is copyright to Vincenzo Dama, and we appreciate his cooperation with our zine!