He Called Me Punk-A-Bunk

For years I created sculpture the subtractive way. I would start with a three dimensional form, maybe a sphere or a doughnut or a cylinder or even a teapot, favorite of software engineers, and basically push and pull and punch and massage until I began to get a figure that talked to me. Unlike some other artists, I never had anything in mind when I began. The piece would lead me to its identity.

Recently I found myself unwittingly caught up in a drama of additive sculpture. I had created a stem - slim, slender, lithe, elegant, fragile - and loved it. But it soon became clear that the piece was unfinished, waiting for its coming-out party. At the time, a 3D modeling program that I use made available some body parts for artists to use.

Mind you for years I had been too high and mighty to use anything provided by others: it had to be my creation from the zip go. But for some reason these parts seduced me into using them. My idea, however, was to use them illogically, in ways that they were not meant to be used. In fancy art-smart talk, I was going to recontextualize them. So the mouth came to reside mid-body, out of proportion, and clearly not meant to digest anything. Indeed it appeared to be a devouring monster, much to be feared. And if you turn it sideways, as a friend pointed out, it becomes another body part indeed. The nether lands clearly could not reproduce effectively, if at all. And the eye was a Dharma eye: one lovely rounded orb, that could see nothing, covered by one rough block that was distorted and misshapen. Zen wisdom declared that together they saw as one, but I was dubious. The ear became a ledge on the butt, while in the front it clearly was a bona-fide agent of the CIA/TSA/FBI/NSA. Was it eavesdropping on the popping hormones?

What had happened here? The piece looked like I had gone to a thrift shop and scavenged for stray parts. I wanted to call it "Flotsam B. Jetsam". Then I looked at the gender/sensuality issues involved and thought, Aha! "T. G. Moxie" fits it better (T. G. standing for Trans Gender, you understand).

Suddenly I was taken back to my adolescence, that time of a mismatched, over -and under -sized, clumsy, malfunctioning body that stared back at me from store windows and mirrors, not to mention my Mother's eyes. Miss Junior America I was not. I tried desperately to be loved. I bought a pair of bright green and white oxford shoes which blared my blarney presence before the rest of me got there. I bought a bra into which you inserted a straw so that big boobs would match big butt. I am reminded of a painting of an adolescent that I did several years ago called Young Man. This sculpture was teenager dot uncom and dreadfully uncom-fortable.

I looked at this highly charged uncoordinated creature and decided to call it "Punk". I made its mouth/vagina hot pink - were ever hormones so hot? I rejected a smooth shiny surface and instead chose a rough, cement-like gypsum composite material that seemed to express all of the disruptions of that bumpy period of life. I still don't know how it will stand, but it will, it will.

Oh, and did I tell you that my affectionate, ever-creative Dad thought I was so beautiful that he gave me one of my favorite nicknames?

He called me Punk-A-Bunk.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2012