Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Have Become One With the Rabbit

Pete Hamilton Superbird Rabbit ©2012 Dawn Evans Scaltreto
I have always enjoyed rabbits.  My niece and I had them as pets as children.  When we asked our neighbor, Mr. Legge if he wanted our pets when we went to Cape Cod for the summer, he gladly took them.  And ate them.  Lately, however, rabbits have taken on an interesting influence in my art and career.  First, for the past year I have been one of the lead artists on an animated film, Infinite Santa 8000 by Burnt Reindeer Films.  This is a full-length animated action/adventure (with a little horror) film.  Two of the characters I have been called on to illustrate and essentially design have been rabbits - one is a 50' high, dumb as dirt and mean to boot bunny that takes great pleasure in stomping stuff to death.  The other is also larger than life, but more on the scale of an adult human being.  Evil Bunny Man, or EBM as we refer to him, is a twisted version of the mall Easter Bunny we were all terrified with but obliged to pose with as children.  My son, Jake, was so terrified of the one at Shopper's World that David and I felt like horrible parents for expecting the familiar rite of passage photograph of your child on the sickeningly happy rabbit's lap.  So, EBM is a nerdy, scary and, yes, evil, version of the mall rabbit every Baby Boomer remembers so well and probably still has a few nightmares about.

Bronze Rabbit, watercolor on Fabriano 300 lb CP © 2012 Dawn Evans Scaltreto
The rabbit again took hold of my art, this time with my fine art watercolor work.  One of my still life reference photos features a little bronze rabbit I got as a souvenir on a trip to the National Gallery.  I painted this still life and submitted it for consideration with several other paintings to the New England Watercolor Society 13th Biennial Open Show this spring.  Lo and behold, my painting "Bronze Rabbit" was selected for the exhibition, juried by one of my favorite artists, Tom Lynch.  Tom also saw fit to give it an award, the "Airfloat Award", so my humble rabbit painting is an award winning watercolor on a national show.  I am feeling very cool about rabbits right about now!

Then, one of my very good friends, artist Monica Fairbairn, who is aware that I have participated in many public art projects, forwarded me a call to artists.  The city of Dedham is sponsoring a temporary public art project featuring those amazing large-scale Fiberglas sculptures like Cow Parade.  But not cows, no siree Bob. You see, that community is known for its pottery, Dedham Pottery, lovely, earthy, crackled white and blue glaze pots that feature... wait for it... a RABBIT!  So, yes, of COURSE I am interested, this is my "Year of the Rabbit"!

I did a little research for ideas for my submission, and found that Dedham is also home to the legendary NASCAR driver, Pete Hamilton.  He won lots of races back in the 1970's, in 1970 winning both the Daytona 500 and the Talledega Speedway.  He drove this very cool Plymouth "Superbird" with a huge spoiler on the back.  My design features this race car, #40, which will be on display later this summer.

I am one of 15 artists selected for this exhibit, and tomorrow I pick up my blank rabbit.  I don't need a rabbit's foot to be lucky, they just keep hopping in my direction.  Keep coming, bunnies!