Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Creative Tug of War

I am squandering time. Wasting my life staring at headless pictures in the Library of Congress archives. (Did you know you can access them ALL on line now. I may never get off the keyboard...). Lolling about, intoxicated with dogs and coffee and Aves Apoxy Clay. I even have a commission and I can't seem to finish it. It hurts to just let it sit there. I did the exterior a la DeMeng - plastered it, antiqued it, white washed it, then layered my dark, dank colors over the top. It looks terrific.  But I also have to do the interior. And that's where I am stuck. I used to offer up a clean, simple interior. A picture of the saint aligned with the spirit. Some silk flowers, maybe a rosary or a holy card.

It's a Gede shrine. You'd think I could knock this out of the park. I mean, really - purple and black. A couple skulls, a St. Gerard chromo and there ya go. So simple.

Not. It's Michael DeMeng's fault. His damn classes have cranked up my fire and now I can't help but make bizarre things. My aesthetic has changed completely. The Ghede stepped in and they are leaving a trail of cigar ashes, empty rum bottles and dirty socks. My muse has departed, leaving her panties behind on her walk of shame out of the house. I am spending all my time cleaning up after the Ghede. They are like bad house guests after a frat hazing - stinky, smelly and lazy. That's me - without the stinky, smelly part.

DeMeng has inspired me to collect tchotkes to glue all over my stuff. But my aesthetic comes out, regardless.  My work is all spiritually oriented. I make saint statues - but they don't look like anything the Catholic church has in their archives; in fact, I am pretty sure they exorcise what falls out of my head these days. This one is my interpretation of St. George and his dragon: it's Ave Apoxy Clay over a Pez dispenser (Michael's idea, not mine, though I love his warped sense of art.)

And I find the most appropriate things in the most inappropriate places. I was digging through a bin of broken toys yesterday at the thrift store, my cart full of things like bent candle sticks, broken clock cases, dirty baby dolls and a bag of barbie heads. A nice older woman heard me giggling over the bag of barbie heads and asked what I was doing with them. I looked up from my deranged place of creativity and said,"Shrunken head memorial!" She skittered away, fear framing her face. I shrugged and went back to digging. My inner Demon is having a field day.

The wall of inspiration behind me now looks like a Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities. Baby doll faces stare blankly at me from assorted containers. Dinosaur glow-in-the-dark bones await resurrection as chest pieces on Pez Containers. I've become that kid tearing wings off flies, only I do it to angels and cherbs. God will be sending his fiery Seraphim after me soon.

I am painting on anything and everything I can lay my hands on. This is a new world for me - I was trained as a sculptor and ceramic artist. I mean it when I say I am painting like a drunk monkey. Or Van Gogh on a binge. I just reordered some of my paints in 24 oz sizes. A freakin' QUART of paint for god's sake. Don bought me a wonderful collection of brushes and I giggled over them, giddy to begin destroying them by painting the Aves apoxy clay onto the paper tomb I am building for Gede. Back to the Gede shrine. It needs...something, but I don't know what just yet.

I used to make these shrines by the dozen. They looked like this one below -- sort of Disney-esque, a little too graphic. I was a designer, doing sets and big film backgrounds. You'd be really surprised to see how much bad art is done in the name of film making. Anyway, folks seemed to like them. I even did an entire temple of shrines for some Vodoun Gnostic dude in Istanbul, Turkey. His temple now houses some of the most bizarre shrines I ever did -- covered in real snake skins, leg bones of coyotes and vulture skulls. I was so creeped out by them, I never took pictures. I must have been high from the apoxy glue when I painted them. He loved them. I consider them a were a precursor to the work I am doing now.

I will find my way back to Gede. I just read Andrea Matus DeMeng's blog on her Justice piece. I so feel her pain. The shrine waits, leering at me from the work table. It's behind me, so I can write without looking. But it'll be there when I turn around. It's little cluster of Gede faces laughing at me, offering me their grins and grimaces.

Tomorrow I will start again. Right now, I think I'll look up circus freaks in the Library. Maybe that'll get my giddy up going.

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