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"Ew, Pickles"

Year:

2023

For this print, I went in a different direction from my usual work. While normally my mark making is very precise and intentional, with this piece I went in with a thicker crayon with little regard for keeping my lines clean. The figure is meant to make you uncomfortable with the direct eye contact. He is staring right at you as he eats a burger made of human flesh. I like to add comedy to some of my work, hence why he’s disgusted at finding a pickle in his food. Humans are social creatures. We crave the comfort of others and are quick to denounce things we find odd and repulsive. Cannibalism is frowned upon pretty much everywhere in the world, and for good reason. Eating another is seen as disgusting, morally wrong, and an act against God. Even in dire situations where your only option is to eat your fellow man, there is never an excuse for cannibalism. There is a set of photographs I think about often of Russian citizens who were forced to become cannibals to survive. During 1921 and until 1922, Russia suffered a great famine due to the recent revolution and civil wars that eventually led to the rise of the Soviet Union. An estimated 5 million people had died of starvation within the span of that year. Those who lived had to eat their own kind to survive. A black market of human bodies, many of which were children caught outside after dark, was created as Lenin and the bolsheviks continued to let their people starve. In these photographs you can see the despair within the people’s eyes, knowing that they had been driven to commit the greatest of sins just to stay alive. I have originally seen these photographs nearly 10 years ago, and yet I continue to think about them to this day. However, it would be wrong to say that cannibalism is unnatural. In nature, many animals eat their young to survive. Mother cats will eat their babies if they find them to be weak while hamsters eat their young in times of stress. Even chimpanzees, our closest animal relatives, will eat infants to show dominance. It is part of life, and while I am not excusing the act, nor saying that it is ok, I am looking at it from another, more romantic angle. Cannibalism is the most intimate you can ever get with another human being. Their flesh becomes your flesh, their life nourishes yours. That kind of intimacy is something we can only dream of.

lithographic print

Medium:

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