Death vs Rabbit

About the art series Death vs Rabbit

This is a post originally from December 10, 2023 - For several years now I have dreamed of creating an experience by bringing three of the art forms I practice together around one theme. I call this “The Trifecta.” The Trifecta includes an art series, a book, and a puppet show. To be fair, I’m cheating a little with this first Trifecta since the puppet show already existed, I just created the art series and book around it. The puppet show is the first one I ever made, a story about two bunnies finding love as winter turns to spring. The music is J.S. Bach’s solo soprano cantata called Weichet nur betrübte Schatten (BWV 202) or Bach and Bunnies for short. This cantata was written to be sung at someone’s wedding, so the theme of love is a big one, but it begins with the turn from winter to spring, with new life bringing fresh color to a world full of shadows, just as love does.

I took the theme of life from death as a starting point for this art series and poetry collection. Each image includes three elements: a rabbit, a skull, and some kind of flower or vegetable. Sometimes the flowers and skulls are depicted only in the collage elements, and sometimes they are drawn with colored pencil.

This is also the first art series I’ve created from patterns I made myself! This pattern collection is inspired by medieval motifs. Some patterns are based on the seemingly unimportant backgrounds in illuminated manuscripts, and others are my own flights of fancy. Since I created all of these patterns to work together with the same color palette, I also had to use them differently than I did when I worked with the patterns of others. Usually I group together patterns with strong color contrasts, but with a collection the colors are more complementary. Thus I found myself using more of a quilt like technique in putting the collage backgrounds together. I also decided I should work the stories of some of the patterns into the stories in this book.

The theme began to flesh itself out more as I created the poems for each image. As with the patterns, the stories take place among the background of the middle ages. The rabbits become symbols of bravery in spite of the fear they constantly feel, often displaying a courage that the humans of their world lack. Spring is about courage too, it’s incredibly brave to incarnate in such a dangerous world. Love is often defined as courage too, or at least the opposite of fear. As in Bach’s cantata love and spring emerge as the very opposite of fear and death. Rabbits are often emblematic of fear, as in the Wild Unknown oracle deck (a card I feel represents me too, more often than I would like to admit,) but I also sometimes display surprising bravery despite my constant fear. May we all be as the rabbit: acting bravely even though our hearts are beating in our throats.

Powered by