One and a half months in the making, ( and to think I almost never started on this piece.)
See, It wasn't love at first sight when I laid eyes on this forked branch given by my friend Luna Inocian (love you Luna!). It was partially singed from having been in a fire and would need a lot of work just to repair it. But I took it home because it was from Luna. Besides, I figured that if it managed to survive a fire, it deserved a chance at becoming something.
So I spent two days cleaning it up and repairing the damage, but it still looked like an old branch that had seen much better days.
And so I got into a major argument with myself, with the lazy part of me saying, 'Throw it away, it's too much work for something so ordinary,' while the other, bossy, 'pilosopo' part of me said, 'If you can't see the extraordinary in the ordinary, then maybe you're not looking hard enough.' Can you guess which side won?
So I laid it on the floor and took my chisels out. I thought that if I started on it, ideas would follow.
I know I've said you should always begin with a concept, but for this piece it was the exact opposite. My instincts told me to start even if I was clueless as to what to make. The branch was playing hard to get (and figure out!).
Funny thing is, as I spent time chiseling it 'in faith', the blur slowly cleared, and I started to see two things: a shell on the tip of the first branch, and a fish's tail on the other!
I was like, 'Am I having a heat stroke? Do I really want to make that?!' But hey, who am I to argue with the will of a branch?
I started to carve some more, but this time with intention. I chiseled an impression of a nautilus shell on the first limb, and the tail of a fish on the other. Because it got me thinking of the ocean, the Greek god Poseidon came to mind. So I painted the branch silver to make it look surreal, distressed the paint so the wood transitioned from branch to myth, smashed some colored bottles and started covering splashes of the tail in two shades of blue glass.
When I was just about done, I showed it to Mia and said I'm calling it 'Poseidon'.
Then my even more 'pilosopa' wife said, 'It's beautiful! But Poseidon doesn't have a tail.'
I didn't want to hear that, so in defense of the title I said, 'He does in cartoons.' I think she noticed that I looked like a bucket of water had been poured over my head so she suggested we go with a neutral arbiter: Google. We looked it up, and she was right. In Greek mythology, Poseidon doesn't have a fish tail, but guess who does? His merman son, Triton, Poseidon's heir to the throne as god of the sea.
But there's more. In paintings, Triton carries...a SHELL! Legend has it that he blows into it to calm or conjure the waves.
That blew my mind away! This ordinary yet never-say-die tree branch knew exactly what it wanted to become all along! That's why it refused to give up even when it was placed in a fire. It just needed a little help from a hesitant human, who first had to learn how to see what his eyes couldn't. Thank you, forked branch from Luna. That was a great lesson you taught me.
Distressed, carved salvaged wood, blue glass, resin.
Foreground: Detail of opposite side.
39.5in x 17in x 14in
7.26kg (16 lbs)
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