Latest art commission. Like all of them, it begs some ‘splainin…
The patron is a friend who follows me on Twitter, and he requested something to use as an icon or image for his social networks*. He explained to me he considers the rabbit as his totem animal and as a special ‘messenger’ –the same way Mike Clelland refers to owls. He wanted a full frontal view of a rabbit or hare, and suggested a few ideas (bunny with a hoodie and sunglasses, or with an Egyptian headdress for example).
But first I wanted to understand just WHY rabbits are so important to him. He explained that to him the rabbit not only symbolizes intelligence and cunning when facing its enemies, but also that the rabbit is brave when defending their young ones from bigger predators, and to him as a father that was very important.
While I can’t really relate to that last part since I don’t have any children, I can certainly understand the rabbit as a ‘trickster’ symbol of wittiness and even defiance –really, I think ANYONE who has ever seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon can appreciate that.
I have a wonderful book about the art of Looney Tunes that goes REALLY deep about the philosophy behind all the characters. Chuck Jones –one of the greatest directors of animation of all time– used to explain for example that behind the ‘drive’ of Wile E. Coyote was a quote from philosopher Santayana, that says ‘madness is doing the same thing over and over, expecting each time a different result.” With Bugs on the other hand, there’s the idea that he is always the ‘reactor’ on a situation, meaning he’s almost never the one who initiates things but is always willing to REACT when someone is committing an injustice (especially if the injustice is aimed at him). Remember for instance when Giovanni Jones builds his house right on top of Bugs’s hole? The grey hare is always trying to be reasonable with his enemies at first, but when diplomacy fails (and it always does, otherwise it wouldn’t be entertaining) that’s when the white gloves comes off, Doc!
I think someday I should write an essay showing all the similarities between Bugs Bunny and UFOs…
But getting back to the commission, with the explanation given by my patron I first thought I could use the symbol of the wise rabbit smoking his pipe, which was portrayed in the movie The Edge, with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin:
Alas, the patron was not particularly thrilled by the pipe smoking motif –he explained to me he’s trying to quit himself. Also, he still wanted the rabbit portrayed in a full frontal view, not on profile.
And then one night, while I was thinking on something completely different –funny how that always happens– the image of dear ole Hunter S. Thompson came to mind, and that’s when I had my Eureka moment.
It was perfect. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Raoul Duke perfectly encompasses the trickster energy of the rabbit: He’s sly, cunning and even deceptive when is needed. And remember when he’s sitting right in the middle of a DEA convention? Bugs Bunny in drag would have been so proud!
Luckily this time the patron was excited with my idea, with just one tiny caveat: To get rid of the cigarette (remember, trying to quit) which turned out to be easy because a carrot is such a versatile icon 😉
As per the artwork itself, I challenged myself to do something less ‘cartoony’ with the use of what are called ‘synthetic paint brushes.’ As the name indicates, with these brushes the color behaves a lot like oil or acrylic painting on a canvas, meaning it flows and combines with other colors on a more realistic way, but it also means it’s waaaay more difficult to control. Nevertheless it was a learning opportunity I was happy to take, and it also enabled me to attain the fur-like texture I was looking for, too. I’m also happy to report the patron was as happy with the end result as I was 🙂
Remember, commissions are still welcome! You can let a message here so we can arrange it.
(*) Since this is a commissioned artwork, I would ask that nobody ends up using it on Twitter on Facebook, since that is the sole privilege of my patron. Besides, don’t you want your OWN artwork created just for you? 😛