"I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel."
(Monster I created in 2009 versus the monster I created in 2013)
You can win the first 11x14 print of the new monster by clicking here!
I could go on for hours about all of the ways Mary Shelley's Frankentein has spoken to me. I could talk about issues such as the power bestowed upon us as sentient beings, abuse of that power, our responsibilities as humans, abortion, free will, the never ending search for self, parental responsibilities, fatherhood, Prometheus, the synchronicity of science and religion, God, etc etc. See? It's a long list. But I'm going to do my best to make this as brief as possible.
To me, this is not just a novel. It's a constant source of inspiration. It is something that I find crawling under my skin when I feel uneasy or unhappy. It's something that I sense scratching at the bottom of my skull when I'm worried or under stress. It is the constant reminder that my existence is not in my control and that the tighter my grip gets, the more I have to fight for air. And that's ok. I'm a control freak.
But not the kind of control freak that calls seven times at 2am wanting to know if you're wearing the pajamas I bought you. Not at all. I know full well I have no control over any one else. When it comes to my life, I crumble as soon as something doesn't go according to plan. But what is my plan? I don't know. Sure, I have my life planned out in one way or another. But is the true plan for me? What was I really supposed to do yesterday? What will I do tomorrow? I don't know. No one knows.
I can confidently say those are two things I think not only I, but humanity as a whole totally hates. Being out of control and uncertainty.
Mary Shelley was communicating many many ideas through her novel. Our fear of uncertainty and control may not be the primary point, but it is certain that those two aspects of the human condition are responsible for a cornucopia of great wrongs and a lot of great goods throughout history. Such was the case for Victor Frankenstein. Hunger for power is a symptom of the need for control. Denying death is a symptom of fearing uncertainty. Now, in an odd way I agree with Victor quite a bit. I do believe death is a disease. But what Victor failed to recognize is that sometimes adversities and atrocities, such as death in general, are sometimes (mostly/always) a piece of a master plan. Which proved to be true when Victor, after much pain and many deaths, met Captain Walton who was struggling with the same hunger Victor once was. His experience changed a stranger's entire outlook on his plan to conquer the north, ultimately saving an entire ship full of men.
It is important not to ignore the "Monster" when talking of control and fear. Being alive is so scary, guys. There are still a lot of things up to us, but how are we supposed to know what exactly? Our young monster was not aware of his ability to choose; his natural right to free will. Therefore he became a personification of the way he was treated. As a monstrosity and a perversion. This unfortunately happens to countless numbers of people. The men and women you see on the news, that mean person that hurt you, or maybe even yourself. Bad people sometimes never consciously choose to be bad - they are just a result of the scum they crawled out from under and that is very sad. But what really breaks my heart is that some of those people were never aware that they had a choice in what they could have been. And when finally aware of said choice, they choose not to change out of fear of what they don't know. It's never too late. We all have a definite plan, but that doesn't mean we've been denied the freedom to choose.
Hence the juxtaposition of the light and dark flowers intertwining with his grotesque appearance. Most would describe him as a horror, but I think he's beautiful. And given better circumstances, I think he would have made a very sweet man who could have possibly formed a band with that lovely blind man.
I am the monster. I am also Mary. But mostly I am Victor coming to terms with my freedoms, my limits, and my abilities. The most obvious difference between Victor and I is that I am not him. So I am fortunate enough to be able to learn from his experience - be it fiction or non fiction, metamorphic or literal, and ultimately thrive from my frustrations and short comings. Like the monster I am learning and embracing what makes me a person, an artist, a woman, a Christian, a daughter, and a friend - noting not who makes me or how I am treated makes me one thing or another.
There comes a time when you have to sacrifice control, embrace uncertainty, and accept that there are things you are not meant to know nor will ever be able to know. Our experience as half physical and half metaphysical beings is a limited one, so as soon as we start tampering with things that are not within our means, the water gets rough and our perspective becomes murky. We must remain and wait in this one limited dimension for a more grandeur purpose. By no means am I saying don't even bother and just wait around for your life pan itself out. Humanity as a whole and humans as individuals hold infinite possibilities. Just in the right place and right time, of course.
Many of the choices we make do effect the courses of our lives, but there are still some things that will happen regardless of our choices.
So that's why I drew this Karloff adaptation of the monster. It's important for me to be reminded that I am human and it's ok to not be perfect. In fact, it would be catastrophic if I even tried! Believe me, I know people who have attempted perfection. Not pretty.
Want a monster in your home? You can enter to win the first 11x14 of my new monster by clicking here or you can buy limited edition 8x10s and 11x14s by clicking here! The original is available to purchase here.
Now here's me with that big human meat quilt.