Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Little Man Monk inspiration and creation

Little Man was inspired by an inkling of an idea.....of dueling stories. Sacred and "non-sacred"...the holy and the taboo.  more on that part in a bit!

The creation part......I had an idea of his general nature and movement. I looked for references (faces) of people who I felt embodied this beingness...a certain sweetness, an accessability, something a little creature-like. 

These Tibetan people (or at least the photos of them in this moment) held the essence of what  I was looking for.

I like the assymetry in her face right here. Is she grimacing,  smiling, or just content?  Its just a little ambiguous and I like that. Leaves more for the viewer to project. I see the sweet creature-being in her.  Just what I was feeling for Little Man...Something to take him a bit out of the human realm and yet not too much.

dear sweet face, gentle, kind eyes.

My sister Olivia (Holly) Pendergast did the design drawings of Little Man Monk. These drawings would be what I used to build Little Man.... 

I used a little bit of all of them. The top two are a little bit Gandhi looking...A little more Indian looking.

...A few more

Basically I started with a square piece of "couch" foam.  A cube. I drew his profile on either side of the cube and approximated his eye, nose and mouth position on the front. I tell you....I don't know how I did this in one try. I was quite shocked with the results. It felt as though something came through me and already knew how to do this. I don't know what that means but that was my experience. I just started to cut away at the cube of foam with a pairt of scissors. I used a blade a bit but mostly scissors. 

His eyes were a little too difficult to cut so I just did them separately.  I paper mached over a small ball. two half moons....when they dried I popped them off the balls and painted them a dark green(almost black), added some yellow accents and some clear gloss nail polish to make them look wet and alive.

I did not want a "pupil"... it makes the gaze too penetrating.  i wanted a gentler looking.  Otherworldly was what I was going for...I did have a few people think he was actually an alien (not sure how with the robes, Mala beads and all but that is what they experienced.)  I'm sure if he had humany puples he wouldn't be seen as alien. There is a balance in there somewhere. maybe I have found it ...maybe more exploration

His body I began some time before I even got to his head....
It was crudish but worked. I ended up keeping the same framework (pvc pipe) and just refining some of the joints

I tried and tried to come up with a way to attach my shoes to the back of his shoes but every attempt led to complication, awkwardness and loss of control of his movements.  I eventually arrived at the simplest solution after loads of sweating and cranial exertion....I cut his shoes open in the back and I stick my toes in! 3 toes to be exact...allows me to grip. it is easy...he then can go from sitting meditation to walking without too much gadget interference.

I must tell you a secret now.....
 Little Man Monks true inspiration came from none other than this person....

tehe  :)

Can you see the influence?!

It began for me after watching two different biography/interviews with Britney. One was a heartfelt seemingly honest look into a persons life with Barbara Walters (i think) and the other was like a "Star Magazine" trashy biography; same person portrayed very differently.   I was struck how we label others and ourselves. And how quickly something sticks and "becomes us".  Or I should say we believe ourselves to be this thing. Mind is pretty gullible this way.

Then I had the thought of an individual who is considered sacred or holy, such as a Monk....and what if this Monk did something somewhat out of character...such as dance and grind his hips? Would we suddenly think less of this individual? Would we close our mind, our heart? ...would we make generalizations about Monks or Buddhism or religion in general? Would we question this means of expression? Is the expression of a Whirling Dervish more sacred and more divine that Britneys expression....who decides where this begins and ends? 

Maybe seeing a monk shake his hips would make for an opening....and in this opening would be a questioning of inquiry into how easily we sum up our experience ....what is the divine?  maybe everything is an expression of the ONE. Just playing with duality here.

  Mostly I think people experience his dancing as amusing and sweet ( I mean he twitches his hips but he doesn't grab his junk or anything!)  I'm okay with that (with it being interpreted as funny sweet) I'm not out for a is mostly something I was exploring for myself.  Thought it would be interesting to share how I arrived with Little Man at my side.


  1. I adore that your art is an expression of a thought that holds profound meaning for you.

    I support what you are doing fully.

  2. beauTyfull, you and little man monk have goT a new fan !!!
    kind gReeTingS 2 U...


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