Richard Maximino Balancio

Adaptation for a Meat Popsicle


: Are you classified as human?

: Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Ever since the pandemic hit, this short dialogue from the film Fifth Element comically sums up my final semester at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As the pandemic hit, UH Manoa began changing its policies to adhere to the COVID guidelines. This caused the cancelling of major events like graduation ceremonies and the student BFA show. Museums and studios were also affected as well. For myself, time in the studio was gone. Feeling isolated, contained, and regretful had taken its toll in my own home. I did not anticipate this for my final semester. Adaptation began to run its course, and brought me the idea in the form of a popsicle. My drawing series Adaptation for A Meat Popsicle is a response to social identity during the pandemic. The popsicle becomes an arbitrary symbol that represents the absurd nature of being boxed in together, yet isolated by identity. 

See more at @richardbalancio

Adaptation for a Meat Popsicle #1, 44″ x 32″
Strip Tease, 22 1/2″ x 30″
How to Make America Great Again, 22 1/2″ x 30″
Raspberry Swirl, 30′ x 22 1/2″
30 Popsicles and 2 Big Sticks, 40″ x 32″
Adaptation for a Meat Popsicle #2, 40″ x 32″


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One of my favorite lines from a movie, ever! Lee Loo is my female counterpart and muse. “Meat Popsicle” is a brilliant pithy assessment of our state. I did a series of drawings titled, “Meat Popsicle with Holes” for an art project. Like a soothsayer, I was espousing my view that we are all just a bag of diseased ape-shit, but that’s just me. Congratulations Richard, you’ve earned it!

Congratulations Richard! It was such a pleasure to work with you even through a pandemic. As usual you are able to bring a unique vision to the complexities of the pandemic.

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