Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

As many of you know I've been spending much of my time in Vancouver...awaiting my Canadian permanent residency.  Often I have taken the B.C. Ferry to Victoria and passed through the breathtaking area called Active Pass.  Last time I took this trek, the boat passed by, what must have been a hundred gulls resting on the water.  As we got closer, they took flight simultaneously and hovered until our ferry passed.  I know that my wife, Andrea, has witnessed pods of Orcas swimming through this channel.  So it is not unusual to see various sea beasties about...and apparently this includes mermaids.   In 1967, ferry passengers witnessed what seemed to be a mermaid chowing down on a salmon at the entrance to Active Pass.  

It was even reported in the papers.  However...all photos have gone missing....hmmm.
I'm sure she looked something like this
Of course she could have been a Fiji mermaid.  Actually the Fiji Mermaid (originally Feejee mermaid) was a trick P.T. Barnum used.  

Upper torso of a monkey skeleton 
back half of a fish
paper mache
Not very seductive.  I guess mermaids don't have to be all that sexy.
  Less erotic versions seem to pop up through the ages.
Though to me...I always envision them as sirens that lure sailors to their ruin.  Now this is more like it.
Those folks who are in for a bit of mermaid burlesque....Coney Island has an annual Parade of Mermaids.
Here's some photos I found online in a post by Brian Dubé 
Okay now lets get to my version.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
As some of you might know this particular piece started with a little poll I did on Facebook.  I asked folks to vote on the which mythological creature they would like to see me create a piece of art about.  Mermaids/sirens overwhelmingly won.   

Vampires were second place.  Dragons third.  
I do believe some folks thought I might have a bit trouble addressing such a seemingly innocent creature...well, lets just say there was little doubt that I would bring out this sea-being's more shadowy side.

Much time was spent devising a working mechanism.  It took a bit of figuring out but eventually I got it so the waves move to and fro.

 And, oh course we need some nautical elements

And a shipwrecked sailor...
...or two.
 So I'm certain you'd like to see the piece in action...
Don't get stuck between the Devil and the deep blue sea.


Sue said...

What an innocent looking creature..... till you look closer:) FABULOUS!

kathy said...

Well, Michael, I was unclear about how YOU would make this project interesting for yourself. Silly me! It's all about context! She's clearly, if not a man-eater, at least the cause of destruction at sea. Thus, the Siren. With moving waves! Completely swell! It is an honor to be your devotee.

Jill Blevins said...

another oddly appealing, slightly scary, mysterious creature.

Nichola said...

Love, love, love that arm sticking out of the sea. Wonderful stuff!

Christine Edwards said...

Absolutely love!

Debs said...

There's nothing innocent about Sirens, they lured sailors to their death with their sweet song!

She looks mightily pleased with her collection of skulls and looking like butter wouldn't melt!
It's fantastic.

Thespoena McLaughlin said...

Serious awesome! Great piece of work.

azirca said...

Fabulous piece Michael, so uniquely you. I love how you have added the wind up movement to it, an extra layer to this incredible work.

JonesMoore Studio Art said...

Once again, you have outdone yourself Michael!

Ottilias Veranda said...

Wow Michael! This is so beautiful, and haunting...cause it's a Demeng..but still very very beautiful! Perfect colors!
Regards //Liisa

Ottilias Veranda said...

Wow Michael! This is so beautiful, and haunting...cause it's a Demeng..but still very very beautiful! Perfect colors!
Regards //Liisa