Published on 19 August 2023 at 09:38

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Date: 1985


All right, folks, let's dive into this picture that makes people do double takes. It is one of my most popular. You know the drill: they spot it, and suddenly it's all "Oh my gosh, I'm obsessed!"
But for me? Nah, not so much.
So, hold onto your hats, because you're about to uncover why this art piece is giving me the slip.
Here's the scoop on how this creative rollercoaster started. My friend Amy, straight out of Minnesota, decides to set up shop in the hippest spot on New York's Lower East Side. She names it HAT. Now, get this, her buddy from Minnesota does the same thing right across the street with a shop called DRESS. It's like a Minnesota showdown, Big Apple style. Amy and I even teamed up for a show in Two Harbors, MN, where we unleashed our cloth and kapok sculptures that we'd sewn and stuffed to perfection.
Now, fast forward to Christmas, and Amy throws the ultimate holiday bash at HAT. Amidst the festive chaos, I spot a hat that's basically calling my name: it's short, snazzy, military-inspired, and rocking a bold red X right on the front. I'm smitten. I need it. But wouldn't you know it? Sold out. That hat's a goner. And no, Amy's not whipping up another one. Bummer.
Now, hold up a sec because I'm having a real brain-tickler about that red X. Why on Earth is it tugging at my creative strings? I grab a watercolor paper and slap that X on it, diving deep to see if any funky images start dancing around. I'm not trying to explain a whole novel here; I'm just letting my creative vibes run wild. Could that X be dropping hints from my subconscious?
And get this, as I stare at that X on the paper, a realistic face pops up right smack in the middle.
Surprise, surprise! Then, out of nowhere, wings appear above the X, complete with their own set of peepers.
Those wings? They're like a pod getting ready to pop open. Suddenly, there's a lion lounging in the corner, like it's the VIP guest. And boom, a whole human-ish figure takes shape. I see hands cradling a head, sleek legs leading down to a mysterious black disc where this figure stands. The realistic head? It's like a mask that's about to steal the spotlight above the X, right where a regular old face should be. Just above that X, there's this glowing, otherworldly space, like it's hiding a secret superhero godhead. And hey, that lower mask-head thing? Could totally be a godhead coming incognito as a human.
Now, imagine this cosmic crew floating way up high in the sky, with the universe doing its epic stretch behind them. Oh, and that blank space? Yup, you guessed it—a pelican could totally snag that spot.
For me, this whole scene feels like the cosmic birth of a god turned flesh. It's a symbol that cultures around the world totally vibe with.
Smart folks like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell have chatted about these symbols. It's like this cosmic enigma of a sacred figure popping out of the universe, making its grand entrance in the middle of the night. Right above this cosmic crew, a blazing light, like the universe decided to throw a cosmic party.
So, there you have it, my friends: a whimsical journey into the hat that led to a cosmic masterpiece.

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