Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cuckooland Series by Bovinyl

The Cuckooland Series by Bovinyl is a huge departure from the custom work and shows involving the Moody platform art toy. This new project is something that I have wanted to do for some time. The idea for this series originated in something that most people experience ... recognizing a familiar thing that may appear in a cloud, texture, piece of wood or sometimes even in a stain on a sidewalk. It could be an animal, face, object ... just about anything, even a fantastical creature, can emerge if you use your imagination.

The first Cuckooland creature, Starborn, emerged from a still-life photograph of a flower arrangement that I took at a wedding a number of years ago. The creature appeared in that photo and from that moment on, I couldn't look at it without seeing the Starborn figure. The starfish dreadlocks that sit on the creatures head morphed out of one of the arrangements uniquely shaped flowers.

Seewatt, the second creature, was discovered in a shape that emerged from a piece of granite tile on the shower wall at a hotel my wife and I stayed in during a trip to Zihautanejo Mexico. During my morning showers, my eye was drawn to this unique, horse-like creature pattern. I couldn't wait to get home to my studio to begin sculpting it. The idea for the colorful fruit plants that grow in the world that Seewatt inhabits were inspired by water drops that form shapes on the steamed up walls of a shower. Yikes ... I think I'm spending too much time taking showers!

My latest sculpt, Bunny Man, emerged out of a photo I took of a waterfall during a trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica. Again, after the ghostly image of a human figure with long ears and bunny-like arms emerged, the photograph could no longer be viewed as a beautiful waterfall ... it was now the mysterious image of the Bunny Man. There's an urban myth that has sprung up about the Bunny Man. Google the name if you are interested in grizzly murders involving a killer dressed up in a bunny costume. In contrast, my Bunny Man is a gentle, nurturing-type who protects and looks after all of the innocent forest dwelling creatures that inhabit Cuckooland.

Nephelococcygia (cloud watching) - The term that is used when people hunt for objects in clouds is Nephelococcygia. The word was first coined in the play The Birds written in 414 B.C. by the Greek comic Aristophanes. Aristophanes wrote in the style known as Old Comedy, a farcical and free stylethat permitted him to ridicule public figures and institutions. The Birds is considered his best work. The play takes place around two Athenians, Pisthetaerus and Eulpides. Fed up with the corruption that seems to govern their city, they find a solution in leaving for a better future in a better place by turning into birds and immediately begin planning a city they decide to call 'Nephelococcygia.' In their quest for a perfect city they join forces with their once human friend Tereus, the Epops, 'who is a bird, without being born of one'. Terus is convinced by Pisthetaerus and Eulpides and other birds of their right to reign the skies, and together they create an ideal, flawless city nestled in the clouds: Nephelococcygia. Rebelling against humankind and the gods alike: they fight and are the victors. Eventually Pisthetaerus marries Zeus' lover. The menu of their wedding banquet includes roasted birds, to wit, those who opposed the new rulers.

While their city never really comes into being, by capitalizing the word it refers to their imaginary city. One of the characters tells them they are crazy for seeing shapes in the clouds. So literally speaking the term nephelococcygia means cloud cuckooland or 'Cloudcuckoosville.' By today's usage the essence of the word has come to mean nonsensical cloud watching; to look for changing shapes and transformation in the cloud forms.

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