Protect: Exploring Fear

by Liz

I have lots of odd-ball friends, mostly because I am also an oddball on most days (I feign normalness at the grocery store so they’ll accept my coupons without giving me the stink eye. Yes, I bought 12 peach-scented soap bars because they were 25 cents off, what of it?)

While sitting in the computer lab at school, formatting Adobe Illustrator Files for my digital designs class, I was caught off guard by my sad-eyed friend Ben. He came wisping in on flappy boat shoes and took a seat in the broken plastic chair next to me. Being as we are (oddballs), we somehow got on the subject of irrational fears. Mine was the crinkling of plastic bags in the night when the air conditioner turns on and catches the corner so the bag makes the sound of a million tiny ants chewing; his was the destruction soft, tender neck that holds his all-important head on his shoulders. Shouldn’t something so squishy and vital be more heavily armored? He clutched at his neck and wandered out of the room looking more sad-eyed than ever.

I felt compelled to do something. I set out to make neck armor. It would be grand, fine, glorious, and comfy. It would be lovely enough to be worn with a business suit, yet deflect bullets and voodoo hexes with ease. It should be attractive, fearsome, strange, folksy, unique, and most importantly, contain magic stones (I had a coupon). In other words, the classic nature of Medieval armor with space-age comfort and a little Viking/Roman flavor thrown in for spice.

Let's Do This

Lacking the armoring skills to do any of that, I was forced to use the most useless armoring method possible: painting, and not even painting on Benji with some magical tribal pigments capable of freezing arrows mid-air. Nope. I made Ben a painting. Of Armor. With magic stones! It may not do anything useful, but it serve as a constant reminder late at night of the vulnerable fleshiness of his neck when the air condition rustles a plastic bag and little crawly sensations tingle up his legs……

Title: (For Ben) Protect
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

(For you serious folks out there, here is an “artistic” description of the painting: This work is an exploration in the depths of primal human fears and how uncomfortable even the mere image of one can make us. One of the most basic human fears is personal pain, harm, or infection of the flesh. Simply seeing something similar in color and texture to blood is enough to make some ill. In this painting, the tender, upturned neck is bared. The skin is taut. At any moment a scalpel may slice it. Its only protection is the fanciful armor that barely fills the space: a small leathery shield of courage.)

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