size: 5 7/8 x 5 7/8″
medium: dimensional cut paper
The power of myths and fables lies in their ability to magnify human traits, feats and frailties. The gods and men and monsters who inhabit these stories are larger than life, and so too are their flaws. Zeus may have been a god among gods on Mt. Olympus, but the guy had the libido of 200 teenage boys and the moral code of a brain damaged weasel. Match that up with his supernatural fertility and he seems to have been solely responsible for 90% of the demigods and heros tromping around Athens and Sparta.
Poor Callisto, tomboy nymph that she was happened to catch his wandering eye one day. Things just went downhill from there. Nine months later she gave birth to Arcas. Which ticked off Zeus’ wife Hera who, as far as I can tell, was the goddess of misaimed jealous rages. She turns Callisto into a bear. A decade or so passes, and Arcas, now a precocious hunter like his mom, draws back a bow and takes aim at… do I have to say it?
Zeus had the decency to feel guilty and he stops the matricide. He grabs momma bear by the tail, swings her around a coupla times, and plants her up among the stars. Because, I suppose, that’s better than being human again. Arcas is turned into Ursa minor. This is how gods fix their mistakes, I suppose. So what’s the moral of this story? Always have deity-strength pepper spray on hand, maybe?
Aside from just loving mythology, this piece was an attempt at some new techniques with cut paper. For one thing, this is all about pattern and positive-negative space, instead of color and texture. For another, this is the first piece I’ve done where the front layer is suspended above the back. In the right lighting, there are some pretty cool shadows at play… although not in these photos. Every once in a while, it’s nice to stretch my brain and do something different. And I’ve gotta admit, some of those wacky celestial patterns were a ton of fun to draw.