Perhaps you only recognize his bulbous blue eyes and slicked back hair; perhaps you remember him playing maimed and short-tempered baker, Ronny Cammareri, in the romantic comedy Moonstruck, or lusty and eccentric southern boy Sailor Ripley in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart; perhaps you remember him as that one guy who divorced Lisa Marie Presley; or perhaps you’ve just seen those National Treasure movies an ungodly number of times. Yet surely you know who he is–Nicolas Cage, the man, the legend, the more than somewhat peculiar method actor who enjoys an immense fan base.
What attracts the snooping public and cinema-freaks to Nicolas Cage? Sure, he’s starred in roughly seventy films to date; however it could be wagered that it is actually the oddball details and batty trivia facts concerning the actor’s personal life and hobbies that stir up fandoms of morbidly nosy onlookers. For instance, Cage owns a Lamborghini that used to belong to Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah of Iran. In 1997, he lived in a fake castle on the outskirts Los Angeles and harbours cherished wishes to import a bona fide one from a European locale. Cage is a common leitmotif of kooky internet memes, notably collects comic books– as he considers them to be today’s equivalent of pagan mythology–suffers from bouts of vertigo, and, inscribed into his upper back, has a tattoo of a monitor lizard wearing a silky top hat.
It’s very likely that no one knows the real Nic Cage, not even Nic Cage, and that is why he remains a persona on a pedestal for pop culture’s fixation. After all, he once described his mutable nature by stating, “I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion.”
Although whatever it is that perfumes the flames of Cage’s stardom and draws moth-like devotees to the actor cannot be perfectly discerned, the draw in undeniable, as demonstrated by a recent exhibition of Cage-themed artworks in San Francisco, California.
Nicolas Cage Is God opened for only one Saturday evening in the city’s Mission District, and was conceived by an avid and eager Cage fan, Ezra Croft, who went on the warpath to unearth vibrant examples of Nicolas Cage-themed artworks crafted by the hands of fellow enthusiasts all across the globe. During a rather recent interview with The Huffington Post, Croft explained,
“…I began to ponder the enigmatic intensity of Nicolas Cage, musing,’This guy… he’s an icon, but not classically so. Why hasn’t there been an art show dedicated to him?’ And then, like the clouds parting, I knew this show had to happen…
“I posted Craigslist ads all over the world, including the Ukraine, Nigeria, Japan and many major United States cities. Nic Cage fans and haters have been coming out of the woodwork in droves. I have almost 80 artists from four continents participating, and many from the Bay Area. Facebook has also had a hand in this show’s almost viral notoriety. People I’m not even connected with are beating down my door to participate. It’s kind of scary and awesome at the same time.”
According to John Metcalfe, a correspondent for The Atlantic Cities who was on the scene, Nicolas Cage Is God, “just dominated the block. Long lines that formed early were patrolled by suit-wearing bouncers enforcing occupancy regulations. Inside, people were wearing creepy, eyeless Cage masks and the gaudy garb of the actor’s sad-sack hero from Raising Arizona. A burlesque dancer twirled her goods on stage wearing Cage-faced pasties.”
Afterwards, the show was packed up and transported on the highway for a Los Angeles debut in July, but future exhibition locations for the outrageous and worshipful fan art, some of which can be been seen below, remain undisclosed. London’s calling, Mr. Cage!
exhibition photographs by John Metcalfe