Friday, October 29, 2010


The anatomical skull, enclosing an animal(s) that represents our primitive drives and psychological states, is still of great interest to me. I've done a lot of reflecting on what drives human behavior and desires. I could not help but also do some self-evaluation on my own behavior, desires and mental state.

The next one I want to explore is rage/aggression. It's that feeling where you go into a rage and you don't even understand where it comes from and you feel like smashing something or someone. It is the "fight" from the term "fight or flight" which is almost instinctual. I used to get into rages much more frequently when I was younger. I can understand how it leads to aggression and violence; fortunately I tend to take out my anger on inanimate objects. I've actually gone into such a state of anger that I had the urge to attack a piece of my own art and destroy it. I've done crazy things like topple tables over and fling things across a room. I've done insane things like getting behind the wheel of my car and driving in a rage at 90 mph on a Denver freeway. I don't fully understand how I could allow myself to get into such a mental state and how it got so out of control. (Part of it was being young and stupid. Age has definitely mellowed me out.)

There is a level of rage and aggression that the upper cortex of the brain can't always control. When a human is in this state of rage, we act out like our nearest relative, Pan troglodytes, the chimpanzee. The painting will incorporate flayed chimps battling inside a skull. The skull will be shattered as if struck with a heavy blow. I may have chimp clutching a large rock as a weapon. The musculature of the flayed chimp is so similar to human anatomy - in fact, when I paint chimp musculature, I use human anatomy models for a reference especially for the arms and legs. The line between human/animal can be very blurred.

Above are the very rough small sketches for the concept.

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