The original Thunderbirds television series was a British production, which Alberto plays particular attention to in this piece. The scene is littered with references to British culture like the red bus, Leyland truck, British bulldog inside Lady Penelope’s car, and the type of architecture we might see on a London street. We can also see that Parker has a football which playfully acknowledges that the series was produced between 1964 and 1966, the latter year being when England had an historic victory in the World Cup. You’ll notice that snails are inside the wheel hubs of FAB1, which is making light of the fact that ‘there’s no need to rush’ a rather British approach!
Tradition is the other main theme in Alberto’s painting. This is evident in the use of the typewriter as the platform upon which Lady Penelope stands, a pencil nestled in the chimney top of one of the buildings, copper kettle (we always take tea in a crisis). An old fashioned camera is surveying the scene from above Parker’s head. These items can all be seen as ‘traditional ways to make things’, now all replaced with modern technology.
Alberto demonstrates the thin line between fiction and reality by playing with the proportions of the items in the foreground. Lady Penelope is standing on a typewriter which raises her to a height comparable to the car and makes her appear to be life sized, however in the context of the typewriter alone she is more puppet sized.
Finally, Alberto’s signature, ‘El Flaco’ meaning ‘the skinny one’, adorns the side of the number 12 bus, which is off to Tracy Island via some well-known Thunderbirds landmarks on route!
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