My adventure with paper mache…

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:

before.jpg

Before (3/2008)

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:

after.jpg

After (3/2008)

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.

Author: bronsonfive

Film, movies, whatever.

9 thoughts on “My adventure with paper mache…”

  1. Your teacher had apparently gotten her education degree before our nation’s teaching schools started imparting a crucial morsel of methodology: NEVER show your students examples of your own work. If it sucks, you’ve lost their respect for the entire year. And most likely, it does suck. Because why else are you TEACHING?

    Last semester, I saw my 4.0 (and, I’m worried, my chances of someday getting into a superior PhD program) busted by a pair of ninnies (they co-taught one of my classes) who assigned one example each of their published work as required reading. Mike, you know me well enough that I hope you agree I’m not an especially hubristic person. But as I read this stuff, I couldn’t help thinking, “You know, there are many people on this Earth whom I cannot write rings around. But these are not two of them.” And this was long before I knew they were going to arbitrarily torpedo my grade history with their arbitrary, mutually contradictory, borderline illegible “critiques.”

  2. Kerplar: I love it when you talk dirty. “Foot you…” So dirty. “Want me to foot you?” Ew.

    Pugs: I guess between you and Kerplar, there is one odd party going on here.

    Lucky: She didn’t think much of it actually. When I told her it was Bruce Lee, she let a sigh and bowed her head. I think she was hoping I’d make the Old Man from the classic Hemingway story, or perhaps make a replica of Van Gogh. So yeah, she wasn’t very happy.

    SS: I feel your college pains. And would you believe that I am now certified to teach English in the state of Florida (grades 6-12)? I hope I don’t become one of those teachers who students hate because of grades. I also hope not to become one of those teachers involved in some sexual scandal with a student that is so popular in this state. That wouldn’t be good for business.

    Green: He will karate chop you. And he is hard as a rock too. I think the next time I rock my grandfather’s house, I’ll take a picture of it for you.

  3. I love how your Bruce Lee statue is so focused on the fight…like even though he just got footed in the chest, he is back in the agressor’s position, ready to attack his giant-footed assailant…now I suddenly wanna watch this fight-sequence…speaking of which, you should be paid by the filmmakers if anyone ends up watching the movie because of this post :-)

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