Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Oops, I did it again.

 I did, I did. I totally thought that if my BeadDreams entry made the finals, I had the good grace to keep it to myself for another month. Like the responsible grown woman I ought to be. Epic failure on that front! I guess I might as well give up on being an adult altogether. Given my success in the past two years, I had a feeling that there is a possibility that they will like my entry this year too. You never know though, it's all about personal tastes, and who brings what to the table at any given competition at any given time. I would not have taken it personal if my bulldog skull, encrusted in a pound of Swarovski crystals failed to impress. It's not very vanilla, you know...My sister told me it reminded her of Rosemary's baby and Indiana Jones. I also got friends thinking it looked Asian and sinister. Or Maleficent like.I am pleased with all those comparisons. Thank god no one went like, " Yeah, it's really Stepford Wives -like." Then I would have thought I failed.
 It's close to my heart for many reasons. One, I have been visualizing it, and building a veritable stash for it for almost a whole year. I knew exactly what I was going to make for my BeadDreams entry last January. That is because one twisty- turny, insomnia filled night this materialized in my head inbetween being awake and being asleep. You know, that magical place things like this come from.

 Of course there were technical tidbits and hiccups on small details, like how to attach my bulldog skull to the church hat I stripped of it's embellishments. ( No bulldogs were hurt in the process. The beautiful skull with the underbite is a a museum quality replica.) I also knew that I needed roughly a month of peace and quiet dedicated to this and this alone. ( It turned out that once I got started it took me between 2 to 3 weeks, BUT, and it's a big but, I did have every single component ready to go and a complete mental picture of what it was going to look like.)
 Not working in retail anymore, I don't have access to the store I used as my showroom, and gorgeous models who were my coworkers. I got me. And a remote shutter  release on my camera. Lots of makeup. And my trusty Halloween wig. The remote shutter release is finicky.
 And awkward. Imagine putting a ton of theatrical makeup on, setting the camera up on the tripod at what you think is the right height. Then testing. And again. And again. Meanwhile you are kneeling, trying to suck your double chin in ( how is that done???) and thinking about all the things I have subjected my poor models to. This sucks.
 And then somehow, out of 200 terrible pictures, there is one I even like. Gosh, I got a good angle. It just doesn't look like me, but how neat!
 Of course, there are the moments, when I keep pressing the little remote button and the camera stares back, like the Nietzschean abyss that you should be careful with.It's not even blinking,no matter what I do, so I am flipping the bird making funny faces at it. Of course this is when the light is just right and everything is in focus. Yaay! This is the picture that will make me famous.

 But where does this demented looking blingy idea come from? 

Well, there is a story to it. The name of the piece is Homage to Endre Szász. Who happens to be my favorite Hungarian painter. I grew up with his work glaring down on me from every wall. My father was a big fan of his. We had framed prints from him in our apartment. My mother wasn't very fond of him because she thought his paintings were creepy. There are many, many worse  things is life than creepy. Creepy is good. It's an aesthetic quality I was always particularly fond of and felt right at home in my creepy daydreams about the people with the hats.I think I said this before, but there are so many, many things in life that are less predictable and safe than creepy monsters. In fairy tales and stories, rules always govern how monster act. In life, oftentimes the monsters are a lot harder to identify and they are rarely good or bad. More like a mix of both.

 At any rate to me these people seemed like they lived interesting lives in a parallel universe. Imagine the places they went wearing those hats. Imagine the architecture surrounding them. I could  imagine the whole world around them. And to me, art was always a door that opened on all the things it did not show, only hinted at. You look at a picture, soak in the details, but the best part is what happens to your mind building a world around what you glanced at, through that window. I can see the cities these people live in. The pools they go to, the parks they visit.... I am eternally grateful for having had the good luck to live my childhood amongst them. They were my secret garden.
  Unknown to them, they replaced a set of  skulls with antlers attached  that my paternal grandfather- whom I never met- killed. And a mask of the devil, made out of paper mache that my father's college buddy made in art class. I think me and my sister were a little squeamish about the devil and the deer heads and my mother gave those objects away thinking that was the right thing to do. I missed the skulls, and even the devil. They were my predictable monsters too.  But I am glad they were replaced with my new Hat People.