primitive art

Grin and Bear It


acrylic, gouache, pen on w/c paper

Grin and Bear It.  I have no doubt that each person looking at this art piece will find his/her own meaning, and it will be odd.  It’s an odd piece, so let me explain.  I introduced a new lesson in Muse Group which involved making a mask, not one to be worn, but a 2D version.  I passed out pictures of indigenous mask art as ideas and suggested we go for a primitive art look.  The students had no problem with this and each produced a totally unique version of their own tribal mask.

Since I have spent some time in British Columbia and seen a lot of First Nations totem art, I chose this image.  As I progressed I got more and more creeped out by the image and in fact committed a totally uncool act (for a teacher) when we showed our pieces at the end.  (my finger pointed down my throat, get it?)

But I truly believe that in the quest for truly original art making we must at times step over the threshold of easy-on-the-eyes and into the land of grotesque.  And so I proudly share this breakthrough piece with you, and hope it doesn’t give you any nightmares. Perhaps you will even recognize it as a spirit guardian .