Sometimes, I take pictures of gross things that inspire me. Like these mushrooms that came with a food donation this week:
A couple of weeks ago I conquered my fear of cutting up a whole raw chicken. Although it wasn’t as tough as I’d imagined, I still never want to be a butcher (well, maybe if it involved wearing this and marrying mike myers). After I was done cooking & shredding the chicken I had an inescapable urge to take the perfectly intact wishbones home with me. So, I did.
What shall I do with them? Draw them, perhaps? Wait for a friend to come visit so we can make wishes and break them? What is it about bones that makes them so fascinating? This instinctual curiosity with and collecting of dead things is reminding me of the dead bats story. I could have sworn I had blogged about the dead bats, and intended to just link to an old post here, but a search for “dead bat” in my old wordpress blog comes up with nada. Plus while paging through really old blog posts I realized that I’m not sure I feel like encouraging my readership to go back and read my bizarre ramblings from 2 yrs ago. So hey! Here’s a weird story about the strangest thing I ever did for art. I told a couple friends about it at the St. Paul Bureau of Arts & Beverages last month, so I guess it was on my mind when I brought home my chicken bones. (Psst click on the link! Art happy hour with Springboard peeps is awesome! And it’s happening again this Monday.)
It was Valentine’s Day of 2006. I was living in Northfield, MN and on my morning walk to campus I found two dead bats lying in the snow on the sidewalk next to the old middle school building (soon to be Carleton’s new arts center). The fact that I found them on Valentine’s Day has always seemed sort of…appropriate somehow. Maybe because I had recently broken up with someone at the time. The poor little guys looked so pitiful, belly-up & frozen, so I scooted them off to a hidden corner, thinking I didn’t want a dog to come find them and tear them apart. I walked on to work, but their memory sort of haunted me and they were still there when I walked home later that day. So the next time I put them in a shoebox and brought them to Boliou with me. I decided I simply had to draw them. It was fated to be so. I taped them to the outside of the print studio windows (that way they stayed cold and didn’t stink up the studio), and I made a lithograph of them.
Funny, I don’t remember getting very much flack from other Carleton staff & students about being the weird Studio Art 5th year who tapes dead animals to windows. You’d think I would have, but hey, it’s Carleton. And my fellow 5th year Peter Sowinski made a sculpture that same year that included a dead mouse, so…dead animals were a common theme for us. Anyhoo, after I was done, the batties lived in a ziplog bag inside a box for a while until spring, and then I buried them in my backyard. RIP.
So, that’s the dead bat story. Weirdest thing I have ever done, and perhaps will ever do, for art’s sake.