I imagine most of you reading this blog have heard of the musical trend called mashups. If not, that’s when you (or someone with a deskful of audio equipment) takes 2 songs and mixes them up until they become a third song. Very popular with the nerds these days. Think Beach Boys + Beastie Boys. Or Tchaikovsky’s Peter and the Wolf + techno music. Anyway, I didn’t exactly come up with a 3rd rhino, but it is a journal spread made of 2 artists’ rhinoceri. This is my visual version of a mashup.
The rhino saga began when my friend Dmitri told me some of my animal paintings reminded him of Albrecht Dürer. Being the silly American that I am, I knew the name, but was not familiar with his work. so I decided to do some sniffing around, which led me on an interesting adventure. I looked through lots of books, and found that he lived from 1471-1528. What really interested me about his work were his animal and plant watercolors. He did many other portraits and religious paintings, but it fascinates me that an artist would make a realistic painting of weeds and grasses called The Large Turf in 1503. Or a stag beetle. Or a rhinoceros? Wait – how did he even know what a rhinoceros was? Well, he never saw one, but heard about one in Lisbon. This is a printout of his famous Rhinoceros engraving of 1515. I was so fascinated by it that I pasted it in my journal and then had to answer the challenge with my own rhinoceros. I did mine in pencil and acrylic. And since Dürer had his own symbol for signing his artwork, I used mine as well. 2004 is a long time after 1515, but we are connected by the rhinoceros. See, art history isn’t boring at all! Studying a little about Dürer makes me feel like my art is part of a larger conversation and gives it a context.