Posts Tagged ‘Idyllbeast’

‘Cryptozoology,’ a Myriad of Mythical Creatures

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Chloe's "Cryptozoology" painting of what looks like a dying alien in a yellow pool

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Throughout history, people have been fascinated by mythical beasts,  including the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, unicorns, fairies, dragons, griffins, and the like. Hollywood has joined on the bandwagon recently, with “Iron Man,” “Avatar” and “Tron.” And all of the creatures from the bar scene of “Star Wars” would fit into this definition.

Chloe's sculpture looked like broken angel's wings with a crab leg extension

Idyllwild has its own mythical creature, called the Idyllbeast, who is hairy and looks like Bigfoot, but not as scary. Maybe more like Chewbacca. Only that the Idyllbeast hosts his own web site, and his own storefront, The Idyllbeast Research Center, on North Circle Drive in Idyllwild.

With all of these mythical beasts in mind, the Idyllwild Arts Visual Arts Department presented its student theme show, “Cryptozoology,” with a Jan. 14 opening at the Parks Exhibition Center on campus. The show ends today, Jan. 28.

“Cryptozoology” is a made up word that refers to animals which are legendary or otherwise nonexistent by mainstream biology.  For their pieces, the students needed to rely on their imagination because these beasts couldn’t be drawn from observation.

Alake's traditional unicorn was sitting down like a human

The 35 pieces in the “Cryptozoology” student art show, includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and mixed media pieces. Their young, fertile imaginations didn’t disappoint the viewers. Some stuck to the traditional lions, tigers and bears hybrids, while others made up their own combinations. One artist even debunked the Santa Claus myth.

Some standout pieces include a sculpture by Chloe, a senior from Korea. The four foot sculpture, laid upon a white pedestal, looks like broken angels wings. The feathers are longer than any birds with a purple and blue glaze.

“Very nice,” said Rob Rutherford, head of the Art Department at Idyllwild Arts. He was inspecting the pieces for the first time before a Master Class on Comics.

At closer inspection, Chloe’s wings also showcased an extension, that looked like a crab leg. What does that mean? Was there a metamorphesis going on from aviary to crustration or visa versa?

Li-An's watercolor boldly debunked the Santa Claus myth

Across the way, was another Cryptozoology piece by Chloe. The bright painting featured what looked like a dying alien in a pool of yellow. What happened? There are no title cards as indications, but one can only guess that the image reflects the artist’s feelings at the time. As a senior, Chloe may be feeling separate, or alien, from her classmates as she faces final exams, college applications and finalizing her portfolio. It could be any number of things, but the benefit is that these art students have an outlet in visual art.

Another standout piece is a ceramic unicorn by Alake, another senior. Instead of showing the unicorn upright and proud, as shown throughout history, Alake has hit sitting down, much like a human would. The general look to the unicorn is not distant  or scary at all, but one you might see on a merry-go-round.

Delaney's painting depicted the moment of discovery

Hidden in the corner of the Parks gallery was a murky watercolor that might’ve been passed over at first glance. But this one, by Li-An, a senior, was worth contemplating over. It depicted an extremely thin, bald man sitting at a vanity, looking into the mirror.

In the mirror’s reflection, you don’t see a bald man, but a full-sized, furry reindeer with antlers (no, it wasn’t Rudolph). And draped around his waist is a red Santa’s suit–with an attached mask!

So, Li-An is debunking the myth of Santa! Not only is Santa not fat and jolly or even real, but he’s not even human!

Another student delved into the murky waters of mythical creatures by documenting the moment before the beast transformation. In Delaney’s painting of a surprised young man looking into the mirror. Instead of happiness at his first chest hair, this teen was appalled to see a growth inside his chest cavity. The growth looked like the concentric rings of a tree stump. The colors she chose were not garish, but more patriotic, red, white, blue and and gray. And there were many layers of them, which begged to be touched.

Dean's large painting showcased an eagle/plane and a man/tree

Other students in the “Cryptozoology” show showcased hybrids that were made up of animals and machine parts.

Ho Jin, a 9th grader from Korea, featured a triptych of three pen-and-ink drawings that he drew freehand (without any preliminary sketches). The first was a dragon/griffin, which used images of an urban landscape, including a city bus and cars at its feet.

The second drawing featured the Statue of Liberty in the space between the large cat’s eyes, and its ears were comprised of rockets and fighter planes.

In the last one, Ho-Jin inserted himself into the picture. He is taking a picture of a bird on a limb, while the top of his head is split to show a large egg.

The painting that caused the most controversy was one done by Dean, which depicted a nude man with a tree limb for an arm. Resting on his limb is an oversized eagle/plane hybrid. In the deep background is a carefree kid surfing a fine wave.

“He’s an awesome artist,” exclaimed Ignacio, who lives near Dean. “He pays close attention to detail.”

A wolf-lion hybrid by Anna, a sophomore

Ignacio said that Dean debated whether or not to put in the genitals, but did so at the end.

“He thought it was important,” Ignacio said.

As far as most people know, it’s OK for students to paint nude paintings. After all, they offer nude models as part of their regular drawing classes. When asked about Dean’s nude painting, Rob Rutherford didn’t answer, but said he was rushed for time. Biology teacher Will Waddell said that nudity in student artwork goes in cycles.

“The art students will do a lot of nude paintings, and then the school will crack down for awhile, and then they slowly crop up again,” Will said.

Helen, a mother and artist, said that she wasn’t opposed to nude paintings in a student show.

Nudes are the best way to study human anatomy, she said.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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