Well, I wouldn’t call it a rip off, but really a dedication to the genius of Magritte in a modern take. The original was done as a statement against realism in painting.
How did Magritte respond to the public’s reaction to the painting in 1929?
“The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff the pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying”
Why does Ronald Reagan sign your painting?
Again, I took the joke one step further by having a dead US President signing the work as well, so in 100 years from now they will wonder if Reagan commented on Magritte or I came up with it myself.
The curious fact is Reagan actually induced smoking of Chesterfields earlier as an actor.
Later he came up with the “Just say no to drugs” campaign with Nancy helping to promote the campaign to eradicate the rising cocaine trade in the 1980s. Nancy Reagan travelled over 250,000 miles trying to campaign to stop the use of drugs during the Reagan administration.
How did the Reagans go about the war on drugs?
Below is the classic TV commercial on the the effects of drugs on your brain used by the US government.
During the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan with the CIA helped supply weapons to the Contra. Some members of the Contra were actually selling cocaine after US aid was cut off. Politicians speculated that the CIA had been involved in the drug trade.
Why is your pipe metal vs. a wood pipe?
This gets to the actual subject of the painting. In Magritte’s painting he is talking about a tobacco pipe. In my painting I am referring to a crack cocaine pipe. I choose metal over glass to enhance the gruesomeness of the habit.
What are the other symbols in the background?
I have the three big cities where cocaine and later crack hit the streets: New York, Miami and Los Angeles. I used the symbols of popular sports teams to symbolize those cities and the sports stars who were also using the drug. Besides the illegal drug ingredient, you need baking soda or alumunium bicarbonate or ammonium bicarbonate. I symbolized the other ingredients from the two companies likely profiting during the 80s scurge. Additionally, the tools are a lighter and a spoon. So I have the top lighter and silver spoon makers in the US. Of course, the most famous victim was Whitney Houston, who I used from her star on the walk of stars in Hollywood.