The Eels are alive….with the sound of the wet market

Posted: March 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

March 25, 2016

The Eels are alive….with the sound of the wet market

I would like to make two disclaimers before you read this entry. First I broke my arm and I am using my left hand to write this entry into my journal so I apologize for any typos.   Second no eels were harmed during the making of this project in fact they were spared a date with the dinner plate.

When I broke my arm I decided to go back and do some exploratory projects that I had thought of when we first arrived in Shanghai. We made our first visit to the wet market upon arriving in Shanghai. This is where we saw eels, turtles, prawns, frogs, and an assortment of fish in shallow white Styrofoam coolers. The coolers took the shape of the canvas and the textures that were being made in the water were amazing. I grew up around seafood and am quite adept at catching and cleaning and eating it, however I don’t think I have been ready to see it in this manner. Not in a bad way but just a very different perspective.

I wanted to create a piece or pieces that involved these creatures, while they were alive and that and would not kill them. It was most intriguing to create the texture or movement I witnessed in the market. In addition I wanted to use traditional materials in a non- traditional way. I chose to paint or let the eels paint the canvas by placing a plate of traditional Chinese calligraphy ink in the middle of the canvas and allow the eels to swim from the plate across the canvas.

The process consisted of three days.  The hardest part was giving up control of the physical process to the volunteers who wanted to be part of the process. It is harder than you think to allow your ideas to be carried out by other people. A special thank you to the eels, Nicole, Dan, Max, Kari, and Nicole for your help. Each day was a different layer that created a different color each day was basically the same so I will keep it short

Day one.

  1. Buy live eels
  2.  Prepare canvas, mask off rectangle in middle in the shape of the wet market.
  3. Add black ink to plate,
  4. Place live eels in plate
  5. They swim and squirm across canvas.
  6. Rinse and release eels back into the canals
  7. Wash smell and ink off hands
  8. Watch paint dry

Day Two.

  1.  Buy live eels
  2.  Prepare canvas, mask off rectangle in middle in the shape of the wet market.
  3. Add White ink to edge of rectangle,
  4. Place live eels in middle of piece
  5. They swim and squirm across the black layer and reactivated the black ink creating gray layer.
  6. Rinse and release eels back into the canals
  7. Wash smell and ink off hands
  8. Watch paint dry

Day Three.

  1. Buy live eels
  2. Prepare canvas; spay a flat acrylic varnish to seal in the first two layers of ink. Mask off rectangle in middle in the shape of the wet market.
  3. Add White ink to edge of rectangle,
  4. Place live eels in middle of piece
  5. They swim and squirm across the canvas creating a third and final white layer.
  6. Rinse and release eels back into the canals
  7. Wash smell and ink off hands
  8. Watch paint dry

All said and done I had purchased, painted with and released approximately 4 dozen eels.

Took me back to elementary school age when I would do fish prints or to the beach where I would spend house watching minnows swim in the shallows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Sharon Rohland says:

    Hmm, I like the finished painting, but those eels, not so much!

  2. Ig says:

    I tried this once with a rubber snake & melty gelato while on crutches. Yours, as always, turned out much better. LOVE this, Cory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s