The Social Onion is a Web site dedicated to an artistic exploration and social commentary by artist Neal Parks.
The Web site is a gallery for Parks’s “Onion Skins,” revealing drawings on photos of the artist.
Executed with simple ball point pen on computer printed black and white photographs, each Onion Skin portrays the nude image of Neal Parks transformed into a likeness of someone from the current day social zeitgeist.
The idea is that within each of us are many layers or aspects that may or may not be revealed to the outside world but allow us to reflect our place in a larger social fabric. As the song goes, “You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.”
The subtext of each of the pieces is an appropriation of that Willie Dixon song (Can’t Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover), where the original lyric was, “I look like a farmer, but I’m a lover.” I changed it to, “I look like a figther, but I’m a lover.” Hence the baseball bat and the bouquet.
The purpose of this site is to depict a universal portrayal of humanness in the early 21st Century, where our fashion and our identities are influenced by mass media. In addition this site provides a location for a dialog about how we relate to the world around us through others.