It can be said that a lot of my art work and commentary on this blog involves setting up Danger Crumples to solve mysteries. The inspiration for all of that mystery concern – my mother. I grew up in a home full of books that is currently slightly more full of books and the shelves I stared at the most were filled with Joe R. Lansdale and Elmore Leonard and Agatha Christie mysteries with pretty excellent and confusing titles. In third grade I got way into The Happy Hollisters, a series about a family where the kids are consistently running around solving mysteries, including one spectacular “whistle pig” mystery. In fourth grade I graduated to Nancy Drew and she has proved to be quite the inspiration for my art and picture captioning ever-since.
So to honor my mother and her never-ending support of my art and writing and guinea pig lifestyle, I’m letting everyone in on the works that her love of mysteries and books and Danger Crumples in particular inspired. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
This is the first print I managed using my current method after several years out of college, it is inspired by the cover of The Hidden Staircase. Danger and his flashlight have been evolving ever since.
This year I finally started a parody project that I’ve been contemplating for ages and ages and ages – Danger Drew Mysteries. The first work I did for the series was a parody of one of my favorite Nancy images, the end papers of one particular edition of the series. As soon as I finished this painting, I realized that it was for my mother, even though I had a different one planned for her.
And of course, the next step was to parody the most inspiring cover ever put on a Nancy Drew book (including that weird one with the manta ray-looking ghost or whatever it’s supposed to be that I haven’t quite figured out how I want to parody yet)… The Hidden Staircase.
Of course in my artistic universe, we cannot parody without changing the title to fit the guinea pig essence of what I do, and Danger Crumples’ name is just so adaptable. Therefore I give you number 9 in the series: The Crumpled Staircase.
One aspect of these paintings that is not visible in the scan is that I’ve painted all the edges so that the canvas looks like a very, very realistic book. So realistic. It is not hard to paint tiny letters and images on the edges of canvas at all. Nope. Nothing but perfection from me. Anyway…there’s a spine, there’s a textblock, there are Hansa yellow borders, there’s a little Danger with a magnifying glass silhouette and it gave me my second favorite way to sign my work visibly besides having a gravestone, signing as the author. I am an author, so, it’s a funny on the many levels. Many!
When I first thought of the idea to make my Nancy Drew parodies look more like real books, I got a very strong reaction from another mother, the one who graciously does a lot of the photoshop help that I desperately need when my paintings are too big to scan in one go, and so I did number 19 in the series for her. Happy Mother’s Day to her as well!
The Clue in a Broken Basket is my approximation of the time she took care of Danger while I was moving and he broke out of his temporary laundry basket housing and had to be wrangled. I know he was trying to do his own version of Homeward Bound but he ended up under a futon – he just looks so triumphant though.
I do love end papers when the time is taken to put some effort into them and the Nancy Drew series has had several iterations that are pretty lovely. My favorite being the larger image above, which originally is Nancy watching some suspicious farmer digging, but the other end papers I particularly love feature line drawing versions of covers. I’ve done a couple of these, but the only one that I’m currently putting up is the first one, a version of The Spider Sapphire Mystery that I have since realized totally does not have a spider in it. I don’t know what kind of bug that really is, but it is not a spider.
The latest of the cover parody paintings I’ve finished was heavily influenced by my main take-away from the Nancy Drew mystery stories – that she has a charge plate. For quite some time I had no idea what that was. She has a pudgy friend, her dad’s a lawyer, and she uses a charge plate a lot.
Maybe the charge plate won’t help this time, Danger. The best thing about that whole charge plate confusion – it’s an older version of a credit card – MY MOM GOT ME ONE! So, I can also solve mysteries using a charge plate. Mine has an alizarine crimson case, and is depicted in this painting.
Mystery of the Crumpled Swamp is the only (currently) Danger Drew painting that will make its way into the wild. It will be visible and available for purchase in all its booky glory at Supercon in Fort Lauderdale, July 12-15th, so start planning now. Now. I certainly need to do more of the planning as that’s the first time I’m taking Guinea Pigs and Books somewhere I can’t easily drive to. Paintings on a plane – it’s a recipe for massive anxiety. More of the line drawings like the “Spider Sapphire” Danger Crumples will be available as blind paintings, too, so, you can try and find the guinea pig ones. I won’t tell you which are which. And check out this exhibitor directory – I’m totally in there.
Of course, I know lots of guinea pig people can’t follow my gallivanting all over the Midwest and now South, so all the paintings I’ve put up are on my Redbubble so that you can find them on stuff and things. I’ve also linked to their individual pages in weird ways in the image captions.
Happy Mother’s Day!