ONCE THE BUDDHA WAS A MONKEY

Illustration, Process

“I NEVER WANT TO BE LEFT IN A ROOM WITH A MONKEY”

In case you were wondering, the project that was chosen over Sensitive Sniffles was a portrait of an ape-like monster. In the same nonsensical evening Sami found her nose watering, she admitted to me a fear, that she never wanted to be left in a room with a monkey. And like before I was on the floor laughing. (That said, monkeys are strong, erratic animals, so the fear was valid however amusing.) The absurdity and realism of the experience produced the creature that followed.

MONKEY PLAYS JOKER

Monkeys, although adorable, are a crude version of ourselves. Smart and powerful, they pose a threat to our own security both physically and symbolically. They are caricatures of men, representing our most despised traits. They are the jokers and the politicians. They have demeaned an entire race. Yet, they still have a foot in  idealized nature, in a purity we often feel detached from. This concept of the monkey as a phantom of ourselves, the animal inside we can’t escape is where I found twisted humor in Sami’s comment.

RENDERING

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Preliminary studies of horrified apes

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Creating the face: A composite of layered blind contour images

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Charcoal drawing and oil paint on gessoed masonite, 18″ x  24″. 2011

THE MONSTER

The drawing is designed to be disorienting, in your face, comical but frightening. The colors are bombastic, clown-like, broken and compartmentalized. The piece is tight and feels a bit claustrophobic. There is an underlying tension created in balanced opposites. The face is both abstract and illusionistic, shallow and deep, geometric and organic. Within the chaos a fractured image of a phantom emerges.

ONCE THE BUDDHA WAS A MONKEY HAS BEEN FEATURED IN:

Creative Quarterly 100 Best Annual 2013

Selected by international jury as one of the top 25 Fine Art  pieces of the year, featured in Creative Quarterly’s 100 Best Annual, honoring the top 100 artists, designers and photographers of 2013.

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Creative Quarterly Issue 29

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MSU Exponent, Featured Student Artist. April 4, 2013

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Vox Populi 2012 (M.S.U. annual juried exhibition) *Received an Honorable Mention

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