A comment on yesterday’s blog, left by a fellow blogger and friend, reminded me of something. When I was in 10th grade, I took an art class with this wacky lady. Her name escapes me right now, as that was about 10 years ago now, but her mannerisms stay etched my brain like a brand on a cow. On the first day of class that year, she told us about how she drew this picture of an ape and it was printed on a shirt to be sold at Wal-Mart. She showed us this picture. I remember thinking, “This lady is an art teacher? How can this be?” This so-called “ape” looked like a pen exploded on a piece of paper. It was awful.
Anyway, I don’t remember too much of what she taught us that year but I do remember one project that made me smile. We were to make something out of paper mache. I had no experience with this format back then (and haven’t used it since), so I was unsure of what I would create, or how I would even do so.
Needless to say, when I was done working with the newspaper-covered-in-a-cum-like-material, it appeared that I had designed a man-looking figure. It looked like this, in this exact position:
I showed the teacher my masterwork when it dried and she looked at me puzzled. “Hey Mike, this is good and all, but don’t you think you should paint it? You know, give the piece a characteristic of its own, so it can become its own being?” I didn’t understand anything she said other than “paint”. But what the hell could I paint this thing? Who could it become?
I thought long and hard. Back in these days, I was obsessed with kung-fu cinema. I loved all that cheesy Wu-Tang shit. But there was this movie I absolutely loved. Actually, it wasn’t the whole movie, but a 10-minute sequence involving a fight between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bruce Lee. You see, there are only 10 good minutes of this film because Lee died before it was finished. So Game of Death (1978) is only good when the real Bruce Lee is in it. And most of that footage is this fight.
The most notable thing about it is the two sizes of these guys. Kareem is HUGE. His feet are probably the size of my entire body, while Bruce Lee was a little guy. At one point, Kareem kicks Lee in the chest with his bare feet and they are so fucking dirty, that they leave a mark right on his chest.
This sequence popped into mind the second I realized I had to paint my masterpiece. So this is what it looked like after a few coats of paint and some glued-on yarn pieces for hair:
This amazing piece of sculpture currently resides at my Grandfather’s house in Zephyrhills, Florida. He displays it proudly next to his infinite amount of Shuffleboard trophies he has won over the years. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have my work included in such an achieving display.