Jesus Toucan by Meg Lyman
Happy Zombie Jesus Day to all! In celebration of this widely-celebrated holiday, have a holy toucan. If you are disinclined to celebrate this day because of your religion, or lack thereof… then here! Have some satire.
This came about because of Jesus Squid. It’s all his fault, and I can see this potentially snowballing out of control, until cute little haloed animal silhouettes are running amok and requiring that we all pay them homage with various morsels of food and bits of our souls.
If you haven’t seen Jesus Squid, there’s a bit of a progression. First, I wanted something very simple; I’m a sucker for simple elegance. Jesus Squid #1 looks like this:
I got several comments saying “it looks like a bird!” and the response, when asked which, was overwhelmingly “toucan.” There was one crow. Anyway, I decided to refine it so nobody would mistake it for an avian:
Good. People liked this one better. It was unequivocally “squid.” Success!
Jesus Toucan has been lurking in the back of my brain since, so I finally got it out. The whole thing made me wonder, yet again, at the nearly infinite ways that viewers will interpret a piece of art. As an artist, you see what you want it to be. Sometimes you’ve been staring at it for so long that you can’t see obvious errors (which is why critique is so valuable), let alone an entirely different interpretation. It’s sort of like the optical illusion with the faces and vases – you see one immediately, and it takes some effort and brainpower to see the other. That the same thing happens with art is fascinating to me. It’s even more pronounced with abstract art, of course, but it’s amazing that it happens at all when the subject is fairly clear-cut.
As an artist, what different (or strange?) interpretations have viewers had of your art? As a viewer, what have you seen that the artist, or other viewers, didn’t?