Thursday, December 9, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 468

Title: Hearkening to these voices, East and West, by early sun-rise, and by fall of eve, the blacksmith's soul responded, Aye, I come! And so Perth went a-whaling.

7 inches by 8.5 inches
acrylic paint, charcoal and ink on found paper
November 28, 2010


  1. That's frightening, Matt, and looks so like a swastika. Colours and shape, I think.

  2. Good God, Titus! The frightening part is quite fine with me, but the swastika was not at all what I had intended. That black shape is an anvil, symbolizing that to Perth, a blacksmith, the hunting of a whale is simply yet another task to be accomplished with muscle and hard work. I am thinking, and please do not hesitate to correct me if my assumption is wrong, that there remains a greater sensitivity to Nazi imagery in Europe than in the U.S. Not that it is acceptable or even tolerated here, because it is not. At least not among anyone I associate with. But the war was fought largely on European soil and I believe that in some countries (France and Germany?) the use or display of any Nazi imagery is actually against the law. Something that would probably never fly here in the states, as abhorrent as that imagery truly is.

  3. Oh no, it is obviously an anvil, Matt. I think it was the general shape and the red and black.
    Probably yes to the sensitivity in Europe as opposed to the USA. Only illiegal in Germany if used as a symbol of Nazism.
    And don't forget the swastika is a very ancient symbol - Neolithic examples have been found - and the very word itself means 'auspicious'.
    And, of course, it is an anvil you've drawn.

  4. It's truly a shame that Hitler and the Nazis did indeed possibly permanently pervert and destroy what was otherwise a symbol with good and positive meanings. I think it is both a blessing and a curse that we in the States have generally been insulated from the weight of history. There in Europe, I would imagine it is not that unusual at all to see a town hall or a government building whose architecture may be 400 years old. Here in the States, there is not much anywhere more than 200 years old, and those things are always treated as if they are some kind of artifact or anomaly. It certainly does change our sense of perspective.

  5. The essential difference in perspective is this: A European thinks a hundred miles is a long way. An American thinks a hundred years is a long time.

  6. Jake, that was honestly brilliant. Thank you.


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