Vanitax exhibits a combination of modern examples of consumerism and vanitas symbolism. Every item has symbolic meaning from the futility of life’s pleasures and the inevitability of death (memento mori). Despite the addition of contemporary items, the image displays itself as a vanitas painting, from the object arrangement, the lighting, and the presentation. The still-life paintings from the 17th-century Dutch era portrayed wealth and that in the grand scheme of life, these pleasures are meaningless when compared to the certainty of death. Vanitas reminded viewers of their mortality and provided moral lessons. Combined with vanitas symbolism is what I consider their modern-day equivalent: common examples of consumerism from fast food to technology to beauty and more. The religious intentions behind vanitas paintings were to worship God and not material items. The items displayed in my imagery are the modern equivalent of distractions from approaching death. Despite the humorous element of the imagery, the underlying message remains serious and is shown through the vanitas-inspired image construction.

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