Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Plasssssster casssssst

 Interviewer: "So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?"
Frank Zappa: "You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”

-- Frank Zappa

Self portrait 7-23-13

“She was the most beautiful creature on Earth -- 
her hair said so in that language only hair can speak.”

-- Gabriel Ba, Daytripper

“Phyllida's hair was where her power resided.”

-- Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

“Round and round they went with their snakes, snakily...” 

-- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


I remember reading some writing advice once that said, if you have writer's block, to simply start scribbling. Just doodle and draw loops and whirls on the paper until you start making words.

Sometimes I have a vision of exactly the face I want to make on a particular day.
But honestly, much more often I have no ideas whatsoever.
When I don't have a face in mind and the ideas aren't flowing, sometimes it helps to "scribble," which means I just start playing.
Quite often, a face results after a lot of meandering, wool-gathering, and poking around in the detritus of my workspace.

I have lots of stuff in there.
Masks, paint, hats, glasses, toys, mustaches, clay, balloons, scissors, glue, tape, stickers, pipe cleaners, action figures, Barbies ... you name it.
I hold onto things just in case I need them later.

For instance, I made this plaster cast of my face last year. 
While my kids were at school, I was laying on the floor in my bathrobe with a blow-dryer aimed at my face (which was wrapped in wet, plaster-coated gauze), breathing through drinking straws shoved up my nostrils, wondering what the other moms were doing right then.
I didn't really give a fiddler's fuck what the other moms were doing right then. 
I just wondered.

I haven't really done anything with this mask.
But I've kept it. Just in case.

The eyes on this "Medusa" are actually mine. I recycled them from two different self portraits that printed badly because my ink cartridges were running low. 
Yay, recycling!

The bendy, wiggly wooden snakes came from the craft store. They were on sale a couple of weeks ago for $1 each. I bought all they had. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with them, but I knew I'd use them eventually.

Plus, I have lots of styrofoam wig forms laying around.

So I just started scribbling, and kept scribbling and doodling and playing until I had a face I liked ... a plaster-faced Medusa with wooden snake hair and paper eyes.

Maybe it's good.
Maybe it's art.
Maybe it's not.
Maybe it isn't anything.
Maybe it just "is."

Maybe I don't give a fiddler's fuck.