Saturday, April 23, 2011

Full Fathom Five

"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell."

So I've been on a sea-faring kick lately....perhaps it is because I've been hanging out in the Pacific Northwest for the last month or so....Vancouver, Victoria, Port Townsend, Seattle, Portland and back to Vancouver again.  My girlfriend, Andrea has been showing the sights around B.C. and a trip with her and her girls to the Vancouver Aquarium to punctuate the aquatic theme.  
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Being surrounded by the briny deep affected me artistically which was really kicked in after hanging out in Portland and coming across these:
Then...I picked up a belllows at the famous Baker's Dozen Antique store...and this is where it started...
This is where my Sea-faring adventures begins...
Chapter i: Loomings
Call me Ishmael...but Michael is what I typically go by.  Anyway, I always start the same way...I get a basic structure together then build from that.  I know when I posted the above image on Facebook a few folks thought I might actually keep the pink tentacles but that is really not my thing.  I usually know that paint is going to take the objects and bring together.

Before I show you the finished piece...let's talk Squid legs
There is something oddly eerie about the legs of squids and octopi.
Incredibly disconcerting yet strangely compelling.  Of course early sea-farers probably had a similar point of view and these became the stuff of sea-monster tales.
I think there is an other worldly quality about these critters, especially the way the tentacles seem to move so smoothly yet powerfully...I have to admit, tentacle hands would be coooool.  It's true I have tentacle envy.
Now some of you may be Pirates of the Caribbean fans and you might be familiar with the strange character of Davy Jones...a octopus faced character.
Yes he does have nice legs...but as interesting as he may be this is not the first...
Neither is this
and I don't mean him either
The first tentacle faced villain (that I'm aware of) goes back to the February 1928 publication "Weird Tales".  The story was called Call of Cthulhu
and the author, famed horror/fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft
He created a villainous demon from outer space called Cthulu, who had "...a pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings".   My piece was not really inspired by the story of Cthulhu but nonetheless I find the concept of a celestial octo-man very intriguing.   In fact if you're looking for a great Xmas gift for the kids:
Dreamland Toys has just the thing for you. "My Little Cthulhu" vinyl toy.
Okay now to the finished piece:
I consider this to be a psuedo-biological contraption...what it does I haven't a clue.
I have to admit many of the items I used for the piece came from items I purloined from Andrea.  That horn on the bottom was perfect...thanks A.
The propeller was a last minute item...
I added it as because it needed something in that spot, but more than that it needed something that made the  piece seem like it had a function.

So that's my latest critter-chine...looks kind of like a weed wacker...maybe the tentacles pull out weeds.  I'll give it a whirl...


WondrousStrange said...

Another perfect DeMeng piece:) Looking forward to the next workshop!!

kim c said...

what a freaking fantastic post.
those images were amazing.
thanks for sharing.

spindelmaker said...

Love your new tentacle weed-picker! and I really enjoyed reading about all the tentacle-wanna-haves :-)

Anonymous said...

HI! love your blog... very interesting work... Very cool... I am so glad I stopped by! Have a wonderful day!

Carol said...

A beautiful piece Michael, good to see your process. I really, really want some tentacles now.

Sue said...

Fantastic piece! I really enjoy reading about your process.

Debs said...

OMG it's a Geck-topus!

Lulda Casadaga said...

Love this piece...hope it is hanging in the appropriate place. :)

Parabolic Muse said...

this is too touchy-feelie for me.