The name of this blog is Rusty Crocodiles, but must confess I hadn’t done an actual crocodile piece in at least a couple years. It may be more accurate to call it “Rusty Whales” or “Rusty Elephants” at this point, but those just don’t have the same ring, so it is fortunate that I introduce the following piece.
When trying to come up with characters for my Trickster series, I asked my Facebook newsfeed “Who is your favorite Trickster?” I got quite the response, and this piece is a direct result of that informal poll. A woman living in Malaysia told me of a Trickster there with the name of Sang Kancil, a mousedeer, and the story of how he outsmarted some crocodiles. You can read the full story of Sang Kancil and the Crocodiles here.
Sounded like a great Trickster and story so got to work on it.
Started this piece in late June, and Cheri had recently found a stash of old Victorian furniture bits and bobs. Many of them immediately went to serve as the framework for this piece.
One issue I had to tackle early on was how to create several crocodiles, as I don’t always have many of the same object, much less one that happens to look like a crocodile. But as you can see above, I fortunately did in this case: Garlic presses!
I painted one to see how it would look:
A few years back I made a few digital animals in Second Life. They were comprised of hand-drawn illustrations that were colored in photoshop and then applied to shapes within the virtual world. The crocodiles could walk, as well as open their mouths and roar when clicked on. While the crocodiles in this pieces look a bit different from the one shown below, this was the original inspiration for them.
Next up, Sang Kancil. Much like the Raven in my previous Trickster piece, I decided to go with a shape cut out of plywood. However, I added some typewriter key parts as legs, which worked remarkably well:
Everything was ready for assembly, so all four crocodiles were finished. These were drawn/painted using Levocolor markers, with bright colors and life-shortening fumes:
Sang Kancil was then colored using a combination of acrylic paint as the base, light brown for outline, as well as a little white and black. The background and waves were painted using a similar technique. Here is shot in the middle of painting it all.
One problem I had with the piece at this point was the fact that there wasn’t the feeling of depth I had hoped for. So instead of a fourth garlic press crocodile at the top of the piece, instead there is one painted onto the wood backing. This helped creates a feeling of a flotilla of crocodiles fading into the distance. You can see the result in shots of the finished work. And the poor crocodile who got cut from this piece? Well it is already happy in its new home with a woman who loves garlic presses.
Sang Kancil and the Crocodiles is a hanging assemblage work that is part of my Trickster series. It is 16 x 19 x 4 inches.