BESTIARUM VOCABULUM OF MICKEY AND PORKY12 October 2017, Pepino
I’ve been painting Dumbo, Sponge Bob, Pluto and Porky. These anthropomorphic creatures have very little to do with the wild life - they are more like fursuiter humans. However, I’d like to call myself animalier, which refers to an artist, who specializes in the portrayal of animals.
I’m not a fabulist giving moral lessons - what I’m creating is a contemporary turborealist beastiary. Do androids dream of electric sheep? No idea but the humans prefer the simulacrum of Disneyland animal replicas. There’s more technicolor in Mickey Mouse than in the real rats living in waste containers. Porky doesn’t exist in the same dimension with the ham in my sandwich.
Bestiary is a compendium of beasts. Originating in the ancient world, bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals. The books were more about the symbolic language than natural history. Also Leonardo da Vinci made his own bestiarum vocabulum.
Animal painters came lower down in the hierarchy of genres, only still life was less prestigious subject matter. Painting living creatures was more estimable than representing dead things without movement. Dumbo is neither living nor dead, he’s animated, not an animated corpse like a vodou zombie but like a golem created from inanimate matter. Golem, in Jewish folklore, is a mutable metaphor with unlimited symbolism. My paintings are golems - not made of mud and clay but synthetic acrylic and enamel paints - and I'm the rabbi controlling them.