Archive for May, 2011

Unexpected Art

May 5, 2011

I love art that surprises you. Giant murals of pastoral landscapes, that up close turn out to be chewed fingernail clippings from 32 different street-walkers. Cathedral dioramas made from spent ammunition (or live; that would really be surprising). Standard girl-meets-boy romance stories that suddenly turn dark and dripping. Genre novels that can’t be described without using 18 classifications; western-steampunk-literary-space-opera-gritty-noir-thriller, with a dash of prose poetry and autobiographical bits.

When I say surprise, I don’t mean the “boo!”, jump out, “eek!” kind of surprise. Cheap scares have always infuriated me. Plot twists in the last two pages of a story tend to drive me nuts. No, the surprises I enjoy are the slow melty ones. The gradual realization that what you’re viewing/reading/enjoying is not what you believed, and never was.

heid 3-d face graffitti in Temple Bar, DublinThere’s something about these lifecast heids that capture that surprise. I ran into them all over the place you in Dublin, and they gave me a jolt each time. Graffiti is meant to be flat; pretty and colorful, maybe, full of intricate details, sure, but flat. I’ve started to get used to seeing yarn bombing around, but these faces look like they’re pushing their way out of the buildings and into the world.

They’re also the type of delightful surprises that many people just walk past. They’re very subtly strange, just barely intruding into the world, and most folks won’t even register them as they walk past. So they feel like a delicious secret as well.

Well done, mr. heid. Thank you for sharing them.