August 8, 2007

Familiar Dream

So I am going to wrap up my thoughts about Max Ernst in the next couple of posts. The Ernst DVD finally made it back to Netflix, after taking a detour with my brother Jeremy off to Philadelphia. Next up in the que is Marcel Duchamp, picked partially for Jer because I think he is thinking of him lately too, and I want to understand more. But I have wandered off topic already...

One of the things that really struck me about the Ernst documentary was a story about his youth and his pet. When he was young, he had a bird as a pet, who he loved. Unfortunately one day, he went to visit it in its cage, and it had passed away. And by apparent coincidence, upon the moment of discovering his bird's death, his father entered the room to tell him of his baby sister's birth. The emotional collision of the two events had a tremendous effect on Ernst, and birds became forever tied to his work, and took on many symbolic meanings.


collage by Max Ernst
collage by Max Ernst
collage by Max Ernst

Ernst even developed an alter ego type character called Loplop which appeared in some of his artworks like the collage novels. Loplop was sort of a familiar for Ernst, like a witch has a black cat, or a wizard has an owl. I love the concept and history of the familiar animal, and have always wanted to fully conceptualize one of my own. I love the idea of an animal that visits your dreams and daydreams, that guides your imagination.


I have thought that some of my pets could be my familiars, like my dog Zoey or the little hamsters we had several years ago. And while I would dream of them, I don't think it was the same thing as having a familiar. I think there needs to me a more spiritual connection within the subconscious, not just in the physical world. When I was in college, I was very drawn to bugs and arthropods, especially beetles. I had many dreams and nightmares of beetles and I think they acted as familiars to me for a while. But I have not thought of that in years. After college I didn't do as much conceptual work in my art/craft as the reality of making a living sort of took over. I think I am at the point where this is missing a bit in my process now (thus all the studies about surrealism, and music?) Perhaps I should try to re-connect with those concepts again.

And here, so this doesn't get too heady...A clip from one of my favorite episodes from the Simpsons, the chili-cookoff episode, where Johnny Cash appears to Homer as his familiar spirit guide, in coyote form.

1 comment:

  1. These bead are the cutest!! I love the vintage look and how creative you can be with jewelry like yours! Very cute!

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