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Artwork You Don't Want Your Kids Doing For 'Show And Tell'
by Roger Freed

Being an 'artiste' is not an easy thing. At a book store I saw salmon print art that someone made by inking the side of a fish and pressing it to paper. I thought to myself "Hey, I can do better than that!" I went out and got the necessary paper and utensils to set up shop myself. Of course, things always seem easier than they actually are. Starting out using a moose was perhaps the smartest idea. For one thing, nobody sold paper big enough for it. Using a moose that was already dead would probably have been wiser too.
Probably. Live ones, I soon found out, don't like being tipped over. They wiggle around a lot which tends to mess up the artistry of what one is trying to achieve. I'm sure the originator of the salmon prints used dead fish to get that fineness of execution they had and not the blurred sensation that I got from dealing with a writhing, increasingly hostile live subject.

Using a live moose as an instrument of artistic creation also brought in extra, unforeseen costs. To have broken ribs and bones set is expensive in our modern society, not to mention exquisitely painful. Difficulties were also presented for the paramedics who arrived and were not used to first having to remove a tipped-over moose from the person they are needing to treat. This is not to mention the cost of a tow truck and lift operators who were unfamiliar with the dynamics of lifting up a 1,200 pound squirming mass of future roast meat.

The next brilliant attempt at this form of artistic creation went somewhat better. Using a much smaller animal made a big difference. There might have been a better choice available than a wolverine though. Again, it might have been wiser to use one that was already dead. Wolverines are much smaller, but not necessarily easier to handle. I now see why people never have these things as pets. You'd never get a collar on one. In fact, you'd probably never use that hand again that you used to try to put the collar on with.

The artwork did turn out very interesting. The combination of the texture of the wolverines fur and my blood splatters made for a unique contrast. (A note to my landlady in case she is reading this- I did clean it all up) The prints became an arresting conversation piece. At first it was just a conversation piece to the police arresting me and to the neighbors who had heard the screaming and called them. It then became a great matter of discussion for the local mental health authorities. Even the local chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had something to say about it, most of which I transfered over to my lawyers.

As for future projects, I have found road kill a much safer medium with which to work. It offers a vast array of different but most importantly dead material with which to work. Unfortunately the subject is often radically disproportionate to it's natural state, but I just label it 'natural abstraction'. Again, moose, even when dead, are still difficult to deal with.

My first exhibition- 'Bears With Tread Marks' will open soon.