Monstra Vitae Iter A Mari

Collage on paper - used coffee filters from the artist collected over the course of one year, sepia ink.

Water stains on used coffee filters make up the landforms of the map. The filters were cutup and the stains were reassembled, realigned, and collaged according to a visual composition of balance, rhythm and flow. The remainder of the map is made up of the non stained areas of the filters; the darkened edges of the filters used for the dark and distressed edging of the map.

The collage was drawn upon using a seagull feather as a drawing quill with sepia ink to create more maplike features. First, coastlines and waves were rendered, then the border and grid and compass. Next, numerous sea monsters and creatures were drawn with the quill, populating the waters with various references to Greek Mythology, Medieval maritime maps, literature, science fiction, movies, popular entertainment and real sea creatures.

Some of the 135 monsters are: Blinky the Fish from the Simpsons, Godzilla, The Terrible Dogfish (from Pinocchio), Jaguar Shark from Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Starbucks Mermaid logo (Original design), HP Lovecraft’s Cthulu, creature from Asian horror film The Host, Sharktopus from the SyFy television franchise, Robot Shark from James and The Giant Peach, JAWS by Steven Spielberg, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, iconic image of the Loch Ness Monster, Cassie the Casco Bay Sea Monster.

These contemporary creatures co mingle with more traditionally inspired characters and improvised versions, creating a bountiful and non linear chronological diagram of sea monsters from all sorts of fictions, narratives, observations, places and time periods. Each is rendered in different styles and sizes, allowing the variety of mark making to influence the design and look of each. There is a single sailing ship amongst the sea of monsters.

The wording on the banner is a Latin phrase which translates to “Monsters of life are a traveled sea.”

This work is inspired by the line from poet T.S. Elliot, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” and Buddhists’ ideas of fear, acceptance and awareness. 32” x42”/ 2015