Sunday, March 26, 2006

My new obsession

Hey everybody! Take a look at my new boyfriend! Isn’t he pretty!? He’s my latest obsession, and his name is Satan. He’s a bronze statue at LACMA.

It all started a few weeks ago when I thought I was a loser and I had run out of things to write about. I seemed to be stuck in an endless cycle of rewriting already existing projects, and it’s been this way for almost six months now. Rewriting is all well and good, and in the case of the supernatural college thriller, is a page one rewrite anyway, so it’s pretty much new material, but I was missing the rush that a writer gets when they stumble upon a BRAND NEW IDEA.

I decided I needed inspiration, blue chip grade A inspiration, and so I headed to LACMA, as Roomie Jekyll has a membership there and she hardly uses it. Dear God, I know it’s vaguely wrong to use Roomie Jekyll’s LACMA’s membership, since I’m not Roomie Jekyll, but I seriously need some inspiration here, and it seems silly that membership doesn’t get used more often. I will put Roomie Jekyll’s dishes in the dishwasher for her as a thank you. Is that okay? Well, I’m doing it anyway, so I pray it’s okay. Oh brother, that’s probably still wrong, isn’t it? To say, “I’m going this way, so please bless me.” I’m supposed to say, “What way would you have me go?” Sigh. I’m sorry that I’m doing this, and that I’m doing it anyway. Please forgive me, but I completely understand if you don’t. Love, Amy The Writer.

Yes, I’m off to the art museum for inspiration, my mom would be overjoyed. I really am a cultural idiot because I went to film school, so I can’t talk about paintings, or works of great literature. If I ever do sell a script, I wanna go back to school and get a Humanities degree or something. I figure it can only help me think of great stories in the future, great stories I can’t think of now.

You always feel smarter for going to an art museum anyway. Walking up the LACMA steps into the courtyard, seeing all the names of fat cat donors etched into the granite wall of the fountain, seeing all the little grade school groups monkeychattering as they create thumbprint paintings, or cutting out colorful construction paper flowers. Those docents who you know are smarter than you but they don’t lord it over you, they actually WANT to share their knowledge with you. Yes, I am a good person! I’m searching for inspiration among great works of art!

The permanent collection at LACMA is massive and overwhelming if you try to do it all in a day, so I decided to tackle it in sections, and just to let my feet take me where they went. Where ever I end up must be where God wants me to be. Way to rationalize, Amy. God most likely wanted you to pay for your own ticket.

And I find myself in the European Painting, Sculpture & Decorative Art section. Which is a pretty standard section to be in, if you’re looking for inspiration. And I’m walking among the paintings, the sculptures, the exhibit where they show you step by step how they make a bronze statue. I confirm that I’m not a big fan of still life paintings. And I’m also not that taken with Rembrandt’s portraits, and when I look at The Raising of Lazarus, I feel like I’m forcing the inspiration, like I’m gonna get inspiration from this whether I like it or not, because not only is it done by a Dutch master, it’s depicting a scene from the Bible, so bam bam boom, get inspired on ALL counts!

So I keep going, looking at various landscapes, seasides, marble angels, hoping the proverbial inspiration thunderbolt will come out of nowhere, frying my brain into creating a MASTERPIECE like all this stuff hanging on the wall, but so far, all I’m getting is the fact that my shoes squeak like a mewling kitten on the museum floors, and there’s a Potential Hottie that I keep seeing every so often, and how odd would it be if I tried to strike up a conversation with him, because you’d think that meeting a guy in a museum would carry a better chance for success than meeting a guy in a bar, but he’s not looking at me, and he’s not slowing down…

And then I see it. My new boyfriend. He’s not encased in glass, like some of the other statues are. He’s on a pedestal about five feet tall. He really is Satan, that’s what the name of the piece is called. Satan, by Jean-Jacques Feuchère. It was made in 1836, and that’s all the card says. No info, bio, background, nothing.

Let’s look at him again, shall we? The picture doesn’t do him justice. He’s sitting on a stump, legs crossed at the ankle, with some WICKED talons for toenails, his right arm is folded in front of him, holding his left arm at the elbow. His chin is resting on his left hand, his head titled to the side, and he’s got the most brilliant expression of peevishness. Halfway annoyed, halfway think, think, think, what to do NEXT kind of thing. You can just imagine him drumming his fingers against his cheekbone.

I like it because it’s got personality. Satan’s thinking about SOMETHING. And how fascinating that it’s just Satan by himself. Most of the time, art that depicts the devil does so by showing Satan inflicting unspeakable pain on an innocent soul, or he's in the throes of battle with an angel who's casting him out of heaven. This is unique to me because it’s just Satan by himself. Not in the throes of anything, except what could be a very irritated frame of mind. He’s POUTING. It’s funny!

Considering the day and age that Jean-Jacques Feuchère grew up in, what could have possibly motivated him to create something like this? Wouldn’t it have been controversial? How much time did it take him? What kind of relationship did he develop with the piece as he was creating it? Did it start to haunt his dreams? Did it start to talk to him? What did Jean-Jacques Feuchère think the devil was thinking about when he was making him? You could even get really meta, and say Jean-Jacques Feuchère is God insomuch that he’s creating this representation of the devil, and imbuing him with personality, and isn’t THAT wacky?

When I go home and do some looking up online, I can find very little about Jean-Jacques Feuchère or his version of Satan. One site says that Satan is "brooding after his expulsion from paradise." Which, to me, is a little limiting, a little easy. What if he was thinking about something ELSE? There’s another version of the same statue sitting in the Louvre. Did he mass produce the stuff? OHMIGOD! How weird/cool would it be if he did, and these are the only two surviving pieces left? Who is the clientele in 1836 for such a piece?

But other than that, very little info on Jean-Jacques Feuchère himself. Sigh. I always go for the harder ones, don’t I? Can’t be a Rembrandt fan, no no. No Van Gogh, Degas, Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein for me. Nope, nope, I gotta go for the obscure ones. I don’t do it intentionally. Life would be so much easier if I was a Gustav Klimt fan, I promise you.

But the wheels are spinning, people. I’ve got an idea, oh yes, I do, oh yes I do. It’s a little cracked to be inspired by a bronze of Satan, especially if you’re working under the assumption that where ever you are and whatever you were inspired by was all part of God’s plan for you in the first place. But then again, it’s kinda fun to imagine God has having a cracked sense of humor, the type that you have. The type that He probably gave you, come to think of it. Yeah, probably.


Yummyteece said...

have to say, i think your new boyfriend has something VERY sexy about him.

glad he offered some devious inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I hit the LACMA the other day. I only was knocked out by two pieces, the Carytids of the Four continents and Satan. I actually enjoyed his face, the mood created by his face, which you know, is shielded somewhat by his wings.