Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Wood Demons

This was the final mural painted for The Cheap Art Store and it was based on a prose poem I wrote in Vermont in 1987 and published in a small edition the same year. Like the mural, it was called The Wood Demons. The first version of the play that has come to be known as Uncle Vanya was named The Wood Demon. Chekhov and his critics deemed it unsuccessful; and so, eventually, by taking it up again, a masterpiece was produced to universal acclaim. My (much less ambitious) story quoted freely from both Uncle Vanya and A Midsummer Night's Dream and echoed Bottom by Arthur Rimbaud. The characters were all based on friends I worked and lived with in Vermont, but they were grossly distorted through fantasy.

Some of the figures in the painting were based on friends in Vermont, more were inspired by folk I encountered here in San Francisco. There are also references in this work to paintings and drawings by Pablo Ruiz Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci. This mural was never painted over, but was destroyed, after we moved out of the space in December 1999, by the new owners and their minions. It therefore lasted from 1997 to 1999, which was the longest period that any of my murals there was shown.

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