Friday, April 8, 2011

Jaw Dropping

You know those moments that knock you back, relaxes the depressor anguli oris and unhinges the mandible, leaving it to hang like soggy pantyhose? That momentary lapse of time where, briefly, chemical synapses in your brain go into shock. What seems to last for eternity, but probably lasts for a fraction of a second (or what seems to last for a fraction of a second, but probably lasts for eternity). And when the static in your grey matter finally ceases, you blink and close your mouth which has been hanging open for god knows how long. That, my friend, is a jaw dropping experience, like the one I'm about to tell.

Jonelle and I had been together for 5 years. After 5 years, a couple knows each other pretty well. When past stories come up, you laugh together because you've heard it before. You finish each others sentences and speak less because you've become telepathically linked. Hell. After 5 years, you've cried in front of each other, farted on each other and probably urinated by each other. The problem with a long term relationship is that you become comfortable around each other and life becomes insipid.

One of the things that kept our life exciting was a 2 year old terrier named Toby. In the words of my mother: He's a pistol. Even though mornings didn't awaken with warm flesh and malodorous kisses anymore, they jolted with 20 pounds of pouncing fur and slobber. Weekends would become lethargic with the routine of pjs and a movie. But with the thrill of Toby, a game of cops and robbers would usually break out when the remote control was stolen and a chase ensued until someone dropped from exhaustion. Silent dinners became a rousing game of tug-of-war with a napkin, tablecloth or a piece of steak.

One day I was home alone with Toby. I was doing research on Goggle while Toby was trying to instigate a game of fetch with a dried up pig ear. I'd become really good at appeasing the dog into thinking I was engaging in a game with him, when in fact, I was engaged in something else entirely different. I could play fetch with him without ever having to look away from my work. He brought the fetch to me, I grabbed what was in his mouth and threw it behind my back. Simple.

Google is an amazing tool that has replaced research books entirely. At the touch of a keyboard, you have a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, maps, phone directory and more. The problem is, it is almost impossible to avoid the porn racket no matter what angle you take. You could be looking up "vintage cartoons" and come across an image of Minnie Mouse in a very flexible position exposing anatomy parts that look like black inky versions of a female human. It is not a good time to be a parent. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

I was googling images for a fox. I was looking for furry mammals of the Canidae family, which are only 1:3 ratio for every image of Megan Fox which, although a furry mammal, is not part of the Canidae family whatsoever. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

I scanned through image after image. Megan Fox hosing herself down. Megan Fox in her underwear. Red fox chasing a mouse. Megan Fox half naked in bed. Megan Fox showing off her mid-drift. Artic Fox curled up in the snow. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

I continued my search through the few images of Canidae species and the vast images of Megan Fox. I got deeper and deeper into the bowels of google. Megan Fox. Megan Fox. Red Fox. Gray Fox. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

One Fish. Two Fish. Red Fish. Blue Fish. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

Then I saw it: An image that looked curiously identical to her underwear. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. I wrestled it from his mouth and tossed it behind my back.

I clicked on the image which opened up the site that I wished never existed. It was Jonelle. The image of her dressed in lingerie was the least scandalous in the photo album. Tik tik tik went little paws as Toby brought me the pig ear. This time he didn't let go of the pig ear.

I continued to scroll through the images of my girlfriend's secret life like one of those animation books that come to life with a flip of the pages. Enter scantly clad female number 2. I continued to wrestle away the pig ear from Toby while glued to the screen.

Toby got more aggressive. Or maybe I was getting more aggressive as my blood continued to boil. Image after image flashed by to the increasing beat of my heart. It escalated to Jonelle getting naked with another woman and doing things I didn't even know were possible. Snap.

The freed object in my hand didn't feel too much like a pig ear. It was warm and wet. The static in my grey matter ceased. I blinked and closed my mouth. I turned to see Toby looking up at me with sad eyes. The furry skin on the bottom part of his mouth hanged down like soggy pantyhose, dripping with crimson red. I raised my hand to find his bloody jaw, firmly in my fist.

That is my jaw dropping experience. Stay tuned to hear my hair raising one.

Copyright © 2011 Gris Grimly

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Casting Out Evil

A few months back, I was asked to be part of a really fun group show called Hunters and Collectors: Shrunken Heads and other Oddities. Unfortunately, due to some contractual issues I had on my part, I had to decline. But before this all came about, I had already envisioned a painting and started it. I'm not the kind of person who leaves things unfinished, so I proceeded to finish the painting and I'm really glad I did.

The piece started out as a sketch on a slab of wood. There is no secret here. I don't use anything fancy. In fact, I usually use wood that was once a prop from one of my film projects. I don't like to waste and I'm anally resourceful like that.

By the way, did you know that a person's anal retentive personalities are developed during the anal stage of infancy (which is toilet training). Supposedly, children develop this trait (or the opposite which is anal expulsive) depending on how the parents act and discipline during the toilet training period.

I went in and did my usual wash of color, blocking in shapes and building up from there. I wanted to focus on a subconscious narrative in this painting. In researching the shrunken head more thoroughly, I discovered a bit of the ritual behind shrunken heads that interested me. The Shuar people of the Amazon rain forest would make shrunken heads from victims in their battles to keep the victim's evil spirit (Muisak) at bay. The skull's would be removed and tossed into the river as an offering to the god Pani. Which is really just a big stupid snake we know as the anaconda.

I wanted to add influences from other cultures and regions to give the piece a universal islander feel. I added some influence from pop and car kulture by incorporating some pinstriping into the face painting influences from the Shuar and Papua New Guinea tribes. Some Polynesian influence is reflected with the addition of the plumeria flower. In Hawaiian culture, the plumeria represents life and beauty. A theme that has always been in my art is contrasts and duality between life and death/beauty and ugly.

At first, I wanted to go with white plumeria, but overall, they became a distraction to the narrative of the story. They should accent the painting, not become the painting. So I experimented with other colors until I came up with a nice purple that worked well with the composition. I also added beads and shells that pull the painting together.

There you have it..."Casting Out Evil"