Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rockford Illustration

This is the Sauger, a fish I didn't know much about, or hear talked about much here in Illinois, but it is one of our indigenous species.This is one of my favorite illustrations from Jenny Mathew's Freshwater mermaids of North America series. What I like about this piece of art is that it challenges all the cliches about what a mermaid is. The color is very a realistic depiction of our local streams, rivers, and lakes. I was watching pretending not to watch when she studied photos of the fish she was about to transform into fanciful chimeras, and she was very exacting about the anatomy being realistic. This mermaid means business. I wouldn't want to tangle with her. To me she seems like the protector of her domain. 

And this is the Walleye. Here I'm blown away by the graceful transformation between fish and woman, and impressed that the artist has chosen to depict an older woman with grace and beauty that is different from the standard hallmarks society places upon ideas of grace and beauty. This mermaid reminds me of Helen Mirren. Lately I have been looking at a lot of blogs and stories about mermaids, and it seems the old stereotypes about women and body forms are still in place. This collection of drawings really challenges those stereotypes, and turns them on their ear. These are no Daryl Hannah mermaids. They're not The Little Mermaid. Nor are they the fearsome monsters of a spurned sailor's lore. They're women, and fish, and they live in The Mississippi and Lake Michigan and The Rock River and Sugar Creek. 

If Dame Helen Mirren were a mermaid, she'd definitely be one of these mermaids, and kick Daryl Hannah's ass. Am I right?

See All The Mermaids From Rockford Illustration

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