Thursday, October 9, 2014


Provenance: This came to me directly from the artist, 9 year old Stella. Being director of a cryptozoological museum, people just give me masterpieces like this. Thank you Stella. The medium is restaurant child’s menu and crayon.

Analytical Notes: I believe Stella had some help, that her mother drew the brisk black outlines of the three children, which Stella then deftly colored in. The other children are her friends Olivia (left) and Ethan. Olivia’s hair isn’t really longer, she just wants it to be longer. And what are friends for?

The crayon has picked up some of the texture of the placemat under it, and this gives the work a ringed under-pattern, like a tree’s growth, like an indian basket, like energy radiating out from  the center right of the page.

The figure that occupies the right-most bottom corner you will all recognize. The stance, the fur, even perhaps a bit of Mona Lisa-like half smile, in profile. The Beast fortuitously occupies the space indicated by the eyes of the children, giving force and narrative to an otherwise casual, snapshot-like composition. A tree in the middle suggests the forest. It seems to be undecided as to wether it should be conical or round, pine or oak, but we do live in  a mixed forest.  The large red, energetically scrawled inverted v or dart shape could be Taquitz, a space craft of some type, or something unlikely, a leaping porpoise or seal.   The two horizontal lines that touch its upper tip could be a horizon, or clouds.

The hair of the Beast and that of two girls is the same color, a rich golden brown. Ethan’s is black, or rather the artist has not added any hair to the outline, perhaps she finds Ethan’s hair unremarkable. I certainly observed it to be closely cropped. But clearly the girls are completely covered by luxurious golden fur. It suggests kinship.

Context: About two hours after I acquired this work, the Children (and the adults with them) had a sighting, an encounter with an Idyll-Beast on North Circle Drive, just south of the Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe. So the encounter was imagined before it happened. The family saw Idy when they were driving. The animal cooperated in a photo op and even allowed the children to comb it. 

Leaving aside arguments of causality vs Jungian synchronicity, to a primitive mind this might seem prophetic, and our minds are still in many ways primitive. If the “dart” shape is a space ship that could also be a symbol for transcendence, and the Beast one of our lost sense of wholeness, of connectedness, that shadow of individuation and the industrial world system, that seeks healing in the mountains, in nature. It isn’t of course necessary to choose an interpretation for the red dart, but its energy, its dynamism takes the place of the sun we would expect in this genre. So abstraction or Tahquitz? I vote Tahquitz.

I am a cryptozoologist, not an art critic, and a musician, not a semiologist or iconographer. But life imitates art, and imitation is certainly one sincere kind of compliment, if not always flattering. Keep up the good work, little animals. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the article. Your review of Stella's work is very well done and shows a great artistic eye. You are a great writer. You should write a book about Idy. Perhaps there is one in the works?


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