Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Mad Violinist (an unfinished project), part Two: Characters

There are primarily two characters in Lovecraft's story, the protagonist and the violist. At one point he does describe a conversation with the building owner, but only as a reference point, so I never really considered it a part in my story. But I didn't want my story to be only about the protagonist and the mad violist, I wanted there to be something more that would point to the early surrealists. One of my favorites was the photographer Man Ray, who often created arresting imagery with simple visual juxtapositions that illustrated how we recreate our worlds with words and phrases that do not translate logically to visual mediums.

For example, I was always taken by the idea of the relationship between a musician and their instrument as a love affair. Man Ray illustrated this in a famous portrait of a nude woman viewed from the back. He'd pasted two "f-holes" in black paper on her back to play with the connection between the human form and how stringed instruments are shaped. F-holes are not what you are thinking, but are sound amplifiers which are very recognizable on the front of most stringed instruments. I played with this notion in relation to the violist by drawing him as seducing a woman who was interposed with the instrument.

In this last image, I was playing with the idea that the protagonist might see the violist as an idealized figure, more cartoony and sinister. I have to admit I was inspired by Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, as it was interpreted as a cartoon show. There is a skeleton character that I believe had spirally eyes, which I modeled this character on.


  1. Nice! Open Circle Theater did their version of The Music Of Eric Zann which they put in the middle of Pickman's Model for some reason. The music was interesting in that like the paintings of the title, it was hinted at rather than being heard.

  2. As an animated short it would have sound and thusly music. I've been so inspired by Astor Piazzolla's tango music that I associate it to this work. As still images, I think the idea of music is implied by the instruments.