I'm not saying that "Jack" is scary, though some say he is and the Neil's story about him is a little scary. I've never imagined Jack appearing (oh, hello---as I type this a spider lowers herself in front of the screen) I think of being in a dark place and becoming aware of him gradually. You know, the pricking of the hairs on your neck, just making out the whites of his eyes in the darkness, telling yourself it's an illusion you see, light off some old vase in the corner. Rubbing your eyes or squinting won't turn the eyes into some innocent reflection. No, they're definitely there, even though they can't be, and they're looking at you. It's then that you stop breathing. At that very moment you must finally admit to yourself that something is unright in your world. I wrote an essay for Dark Dreamers (Cemetary Dance) about this very thing, horror that begins subtley and grows into an undeniable reality. As I painted this sculpture of "Don't Ask Jack" a few days ago, the desire to make him scary struck me, so I kept the finish dark and subtle but kept the eyes bright. It works really, really well in night's half light. Jack becomes just the things dreams are made of, and the reason night lights are purchased. (Sweet Dreams, Roland and Robert!)
That said, now I've got the bug to make something scary. About time too. It's been awhile. I've enjoyed doing the fine art pieces (i.e. the more esoteric puppet pieces and the food pieces). I intend to keep doing them until I've said what I want to say. But Jack is different. This kind of figurative work isn't considered by some galleries to be fine art, no matter how well executed or what materials are employed. Gorecki's Third Symphony describes a story so effectively that each time I hear it I am moved to tears. And there are other stories that could only have ever been sung by John Prine.
If I'm going to do scary, I can do one of two things; I can paint it, or I can create a character like Jack. Screw the galleries.
I want to do scary. When I'm flying, which I don't particularly enjoy, I like reading something scary. This can be a tall order as I don't scare all that easily. Maybe I want the illusion that my reality is cozy compared to the one I'm visiting. Makes sense.
Yes, it's been a mean summer and I want to do scary. Besides, October will be here sooner than later.
Today was Pete's birthday and we've all been so busy and in such a funk over all the bad stuff going on that everybody---yes, including me, forgot. I could have at least got him a pack of Magic cards. sheesh We need to take a slow deep breath and regroup, maybe have an un-birthday thingy for the big smart guy. After all, he's ours and we like him.