Rabbits, Hats, and Ice Cream Castles

A rabbit flew into an ice cream castle.

Does that sound impossible? Not to a digital artist.

You see, that's what we do, as digital artists. We dare to consider what lives on the other side of infinity, to imagine creatures that don't mirror ourselves. We explore those places on the map of being that others fear to visit. We cross the borders of biological sanity, clutching our visitor's pass. We think of absurdities and othernesses, brown dwarfs and gluons, and six-flavored quarks. We imagine new beings that never sleep, don't wet their beds, don't throw up over Mars. (1)

We take the sticks and stones of ordinary life and show you that they are in fact extraordinary. Fantasy, imagination, pulling rabbits - that's what we do. We embellish, we embroider, we blast into never-never land, looking for deeper truths and unseen realities.

In truth all of us are faced with the same challenge, thanks to A. I. Of one image, recently, a viewer asked, "Is s/he real?"

Was s/he ever born of human Mother? No. But we see and accept the image as real in some other sense, a sense of what is possible, what can be done in another realm of being.

What is "real"? If I can see it, and you can see it, it occupies some sliver of shared understanding.

The series "Blazing Dingbats" contains dozens of images. Do you know that one person was the model for all of them? It that person real? Are these images real? (2)

In 1966, Joni Mitchell sang these lyrics:

"Rows and flows of angel hair

And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere

I looked at clouds that way"

She followed up with these:

"I've looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all."

If we know anything, it is that the world, or our small portion of it, seems poised on the precipice of madness. Robin Coste Lewis put it this way: " The world sits on the edge of God's razor. And every day -every day - He shaves His fat face."

It is easy to despair, to wrap ourselves in a cloak of despondency. You can look at these images as bolts of insanity, the unreal and the real co-habiting in a universe gone berserk.

But we are not the first generation to shiver at what artists are telling us. In 1877, Alden Weir viewed Impressionism in Paris, and commented, "I never in my life saw more horrible things…They do not observe drawing nor form, but give you an impression of what they call nature. It was worse than the Chamber of Horrors".

Think of today's art rather as a chamber of discoveries, filled with digital sketching, drawing, painting, sculpting, A.I. and other contemporary toys and tools. We are seduced by the magic of it all, and we pull visual rabbits out of fantasized hats to seduce you into that magical world as well.

Sometimes it is gloriously beautiful.

Sometimes it is confrontational, and so not-pretty.

But always it is designed to share a vision. I hope you will don your own magical hats and step into a tad of crazy, a smidgeon of outrageous.

Look hard, and you may see those feather canyons. You might even create some ice cream castles of your own.

Mine are chocolate chip. What are yours?

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023

(1)The Fiction of You, The Lie of Me, 2015.

(2) Blazing Dingbats, 2017.

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