Blanket Sea

Arts & Literary Magazine

Author: Blanket Sea (page 1 of 8)

Art by Chris Cox

Figure 1. The artist Chris Cox Wild_Canary in his small, cluttered home studio, holding a foam scale 2 plug of the head of his design, “Windy.”

Figure 2. “POD” by Chris Cox Wild_Canary installed in Providence, RI, since May 2016. The artists premier sanction public large scale sculpture the sculpture stands 7′ tall and 12′ in diameter the cluster of six black, fiberglass, monolithic, abstractly shaped panels reveal whales within the negative space created by their silhouettes when considered in pairs.

Figure 3. The sculptural design “Reindeer” being seen mid-fabrication to a scale of 3 based on the original maquette [seen next to its larger cousin]. This monumental abstraction of a wooden children’s Christmas toy stood 5’6″ tall 2′ wide and 6′ long and was installed in The Arcade in Providence, RI, for the 2017/2018 holiday season.

Figure 4. “The Windy Origin Edition AP” seen from behind. A minimal abstraction of a dog, this sculptural design is in the proccess of being fabricated 11′ tall, 12′ wide, and 17′ long, for temporary exhibit in the Rlying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in South Hamilton, MA, August – November 2018. Seen in the wooden scale 1 Origin Edition format three angular hook shaped beams make up the legs and tail of the dog, while the dogs head is a curvy boomerang shaped panel, filled with holes of varying size that make the canine’s piercing gaze and give interest to the ears. Not only does the stance of this abstract depiction of my dog create a sense of motion, the sculpture itself can move as it is held together with an unbonded steel pin system, allowing for interaction and play with the piece by being able to swing the dogs tail and the legs in relation to one another, making the dog come alive with its ability to assume different stances.

Figure 5. “The River Crab Origin Edition AP,” defined by sharp, edgy, contemporary lines. A futuristic abstraction of a crab, this sculpture is of engineered interest, modular in design four wooden leg components contact the ground at their extremities and meet in the center at a carbon fiber junction plate which levitates above the ground plane, due to its connection to the legs by way of a steel pin system. Above this black junction plate seemingly floats a iridescently white, fiberglass plane that curves through axis, making the head of the crab.

Figure 6. “The POD Origin Edition AP” seen in the artists home with numerous other maquettes hanging on the wall behind it. The design created in this wooden format 12 times smaller than it stands in Providence, RI.

 

Artist’s Statement

Having dropped out of the local community college in the first weeks of an artistic education due to mental illness, Chris Cox is artistically self-taught but trained in fabrication processes. Within the artist’s aesthetic, representative abstractions are visual metaphors of rules and lessons of life learned through the survival of schizophrenia. In Wild_Canary’s sculptural practice, all his designs start off as small maquettes, most commonly made of wood and fiberglass. Once a design has been created, he makes careful plans to recreate it on different scales. The artist viewing all the maquettes as future large-scale creations. Using the skills and experience gained through employment as a boat builder and custom fabricator, the artist is able to consider the large-scale fabrication of the design as he is creating its concept, preemptively solving problems. Considering the transportation and installation of the large scale artworks, Cox favors composite fabrication, thanks to its light weight and strength.

Although his artistic ambitions focus is on creating a legacy of large scale sculpture, Wild_Canary [Cox] is in the practice of creating smaller scale sculptures, most notably a collection of limited Origin Edition sculptures. The sculptures made in the Origin Edition format are hand crafted to be the closest recreation of how his designs were first born as concept maquettes. These Origin Editions are built in small limited batches, to scale one, by directly tracing off the designs’ original concept maquettes. Using the same simple materials, tools, and methods the concept maquettes were created with. Due to the nature of the materials and fabrication methods, each piece in a design’s Origin Edition, while crafted with great care to match the original concept maquette as closely as possible, is still subtly unique and one of a kind. Due to the Origin Edition’s format, the sculptures of the edition have a quality of historic importance and appeal, memorializing the moment of the design’s creation. Allowing the collector to peer back in time, as his career progresses, and remember his artistic legacy’s humble origins, for this reason, the sculptures in this format are called “Origin Editions.”

 

Chris Cox, known on Instagram and other social media as Wild_Canary, is a self-described sculptor surviving schizophrenia. Graduating from the International Yacht Restoration school with certifications in composite manufacturing and repair; later working as a custom fabricator of large scale sculptures at Amaral Custom Fabrications. Taking the skills learned through years of employment experience to create his own designs on a monumental level. Starting with mid scale sculptural graffiti installations and later making his premier sanctioned large scale public installation in 2016, entitled “POD,” still installed in Providence, RI, and standing 7′ tall and 12′ in diameter. For the 2017/2018 holiday season, the artist built and installed a 5’6″ tall, 2′ wide, and 6′ long sculpture entitled “Reindeer” inside The Arcade in Providence, RI. Cox has just executed a successful crowdfunding campaign to build a new sculpture, entitled “Windy,” a 11′ tall, 12′ wide, 17′ long abstraction of a happy dog, to be part of the Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in South Hamilton, MA, this August. Being quoted as saying [he] “is so determined to create a legacy of large scale sculpture, it seems destined.”

Poetry by E. Kristin Anderson

The soft pink

She thought of that smell in the hospital
putting on her nightgown.

Conversations came up
in the mirror

                    and for a moment
she hadn’t wanted to wake.

Silence was spreading;
she drank it.

 

This is a found poem. Source Material: Rice, Anne. “Chapter 16.” Lasher, Mass Market ed., Ballantine, 1995, pp. 320-323.

 

Not to worry.

It’s not in the paper—         a year that will be filled
on weekends         putting sugar on         Rapunzel, Rapunzel.
Without a mirror,         I’d never destroy such a masterpiece;
I couldn’t care less         what they’re trying to tell us.
Free to dance,         stuck up there         in southern skyways,
make it through         on nothing but this summer.
We could be there ourselves         running late
cheek to cheek.         you’ve never explained why
all we know is what we read.         Go now.
                    Your guess is as good as mine.

 

This is a found poem using speech and quotations from the following sources:

Duncan, Lois. Don’t Look Behind You. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell for Young Readers, 1990. 2-3, 5-7, 9. Print.

Duncan, Lois. Summer of Fear. 2nd ed. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1990. 14-15. Print.

 

 

E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming).  Kristin is the author of eight chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), We’re Doing Witchcraft (Hermeneutic Chaos Press), and 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press). Kristin is an editor at Red Paint Hill and was formerly a poetry editor at Found Poetry Review. Once upon a time she worked at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on Twitter at @ek_anderson.

 

“Snowfall Sarcophagus” by AJ Cunder

I remember lying in the snow, trying to preserve each snowflake that landed gently on my nose, a soft, huge silence stretching through the forest. The cold blanket buried me, soon covering even the tips of my boots, sapping my strength as the towering trees collected white frosting. I should’ve left when I first heard the dragon growl—while I still had the power to return to the back porch where a bright light kept its vigil. But I didn’t want to leave my burrow. It seemed so peaceful among the trees, and I wanted to stay just a little while longer, escape the world for just another moment.

The indeterminate creak of a distant branch echoed hollowly through the woods, and I tried to lift my arms, to break free from the heavy, wet snow. I tried to say something, to call out to the animals fleeing to their warrens—perhaps they heard the dragon coming too—but the words froze in my throat. My vision blurred, and the trees leaned over me, bending toward the ground with jagged black fingers to secure the beast’s next victim as it prowled. Beads of sweat moistened my back, a dampness that clung to my skin like a reptile’s kiss. I blinked away the flakes on my eyelashes as the dragon’s growl grew louder, nearer, stronger. A tremor shot through my bones, tingling my spine as I struggled to break free, to escape the creature that had hunted me since infancy—ever since I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. Ever since the dragon’s blood began to burn through my veins.

Time stretched moments into hours while the chalky clouds disgorged themselves upon the ground. Would my dad come looking for me? Would he realize I wasn’t coming back? Would he think I just got lost in the woods, or would he suspect the dragon, even though he could never feel it coming like I could? My mind drifted beyond the smoky sky, floating away into the distant galaxies vast and strange no matter how hard I tried to focus. The dragon’s shadow loomed over me, its hot breath a poisonous cloud that filled the grove, seeping through my blood with each heartbeat, draining my energy. A ravenous hunger gurgled in my stomach, and I opened my mouth, eating the snow that fell into it, wondering if it would be my final meal.

Jay…

My dad’s voice, I imagined, drifting through the trees like a dream. I listened again, tried to raise my arm, to signal for help. Ignoring the dragon that stalked the woods rustling dead leaves and snapping brittle branches while it preyed upon me.

Jay.

Louder this time, puncturing the silence.

I tried to call out. Tried to summon my savior. Tried to get the attention of the trees so they’d point him in my direction. But whose side were they on, anyway?

Jay, time for dinner!

If only I could scream that I couldn’t move, that the snow trapped me in place—that the dragon lurked nearby with hungry eyes.

“Jay!”

If only he looked down, followed my scattered footsteps.

Here, I tried to say, my voice not even a mouse’s squeak. Here.

My breathing slowed. My pulse thumped in my ears. The reality of death gripped me as the dragon rumbled, my muscles weak as water, the snowfall deepening. I was too young to die. Not here. Not like this. Not in the clutches of the dragon.

“Jay? Come on, dinner’s ready!”

The crunch of snow, my neck cracking as I tried to look. The dragon hissed, refusing to let its meal go quietly.

“Jay! I’m not playing, it’s time to come inside.”

Right above me, his yellow parka bright against the gray.

Just look down. Just look down. I tried to drown out the dragon’s roar.

“Jay?” The snow absorbed his plaintive cries. He turned back, walked for a bit around the trees, passed so close I could’ve reached out and grabbed his pants if the dragon’s poison hadn’t paralyzed me. I shivered beneath the snowy blanket, sweat soaking through my clothes.

“Jay— There you are! Come on, get up. Did you not hear me calling you?” A hint of anger replaced the panic. “Jay?” He bent down and shook me, brushing the snow off my snowsuit. I blinked, letting him know I was still alive. The dragon hadn’t won yet. “Jay, what’s the matter?”

The slightest shake of my head, the last of my energy spent in that desperate motion.

“Are you okay? Do you feel low?” He scooped up my limp body, running back to the house as my head slumped against his shoulder. His hands shook as he sat me down at the kitchen table, the lamp above me like the dragon’s hot fire. The orange juice nearly spilled as he poured it into a glass and held it to my lips. Outside the kitchen window, the dragon bared its fangs as a dribble of juice spilled down my chin, shrieking as its quarry escaped.

My body screamed for more when I finished the glass—I needed more to dilute the dragon’s venom. The beast thrashed as my dad pricked my finger to check my blood sugar, wondering, maybe, if it might yet pierce me with its own sharp talons.

“Twenty-seven! Jay, how did you get so low? Dammit, next time drink some juice before going out! Or eat something.” He ran a hand through his hair. “What if you passed out? What if I couldn’t find you?”

Then the dragon would’ve slaughtered me, and the ice would have frozen my bones until spring, I thought, rolling my head against the chair’s backrest. The dragon flicked its forked tongue, its yellow eyes flashing as it reluctantly retreated to its woodland haunts, and the sky covered my body’s impression, leaving a slight dimple in the snow until the spring sun came and melted the sylvan tomb.

 

(This story first appeared in Breath & Shadow.)

 

AJ Cunder graduated from Seton Hall University with a Master’s in Creative Writing. His award-winning work appears in Permafrost Magazine and is forthcoming in The Lindenwood Review along with publications appearing or forthcoming in Breath & Shadow, Harpur Palate, The Laurel Review, and Flash Fiction Magazine, among others. He currently serves as a submissions reader for Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, works as a police officer, and volunteers with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as a mentor, advocate, and motivational speaker. Find him on Twitter @aj_cunder or online at www.WrestlingTheDragon.com

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