Tom Wilson, the actor who played Biff, Griff, and Buford Tannen in the Back to the Future Trilogy, never intended to become an iconic bully. He planned to be an actor, disappearing into roles as actors do. Instead, he became part of the pop cultural pantheon when the Back to the Future trilogy became a touchstone of the ’80s in general and sci-fi in particular. When he thought about what had happened to him, the only way he could make sense of his fame was in the contxt of pop art. As part of his reckoning with the 30th anniversary of BTTF, he has created a series of pop-inspired painting that reference Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Indiana, while also grappling with the legacy of the Tannens. Click through to see more of his work!
Biff contemplates the transitory nature of fame while, outwardly, performing his role as a bully to George McFly:
Wilson’s reference to Warhol’s most iconic work is probably his sharpest attack on the idea of pop culture itself, and the way it feeds on people:
Robert Indiana meets an angry Biff Tannen in a riot of mixed messages:
Redemption for Biff? Is he really just misunderstood as “Holy + Innocent” seems to imply?
Finally, Wilson discusses his inspiration, and why he refers to this series as a “fugue” in this fascinating video:
You can see more of his work over at his site, and I highly recommend it! These paintings are a witty commentary on the way pop eats itself. Enjoy!