Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sneak Preview! Surf's up

The last of the trip-tiki!

This tiki is Marquesa-style, after the Marquesas Islands where the term tiki comes from (the word is Maori--the indigenous people of New Zealand--in origin and it's believed that the Maori came to New Zealand from the Marquesas).

He's a creator god, as can be seen from his prominent phallus. (Ah, the days when sex wasn't a guilty pleasure. It was just a part of life.). The familiar belly-holding pose signifies valuing one's heritage (the core of who we are).

The challenge with painting these tikis is not to paint them in the usual way they've been depicted (animated stone or wood), but the challenge, as when I paint bodhisattvas with statues as references, is to translate the stylized features into something just as stylized, but appropriate for a painting that isn't about painting a statue!

The face is always the biggest challenge and with this piece, I've worked hard to keep the traditional features (circular eyes, large and flat nose, even the faces on the ears--which are hard to discern because yes, I finger painted this and the other two paintings) because I think they're important.

These gods (and tikis may also represent the first human) looked like the people they arose from (or created). Their noses aren't ski jumps and Nordic, and they're not Roman or Semitic, either. They're broad and flat and they're beautiful the way they are.

Just like all of us.

Take care,

I.
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