My crazy dreams: an untapped creative resource (I hope)

I’ve been thinking about creating a suite of etchings inspired by dreams I’ve had.  This continues to fit neatly in with my interest in Jungian theories, so why not?  I believe, generally, it is best for an artist to create work in series (or groups, cycles, suites, whatever name you want to give it) rather than single pieces.  That way, not all your eggs are in one basket.  With multiple pieces dancing around the same subject matter, you give yourself room to fail and try again, which is an important part of being an artist.

When I remember my dreams, they are incredibly complex, full of twisted story lines, vivid color, and the tiniest details.  This morning I woke several minutes before my alarm went off, thinking of birds and animal skulls.  I dreamed that I was at work, though my place of work was more spacious in the dream, with a thick layer of fine, white pebbles covering the floor.  The store was closing, but there were still several people milling about, looking and not buying.  I asked a woman if I could help her with anything, and she apologized for being there at close, idly poking around at things.  She grabbed her long jacket, which she set down on a gray table, and a tumble of birds flew from it to the pebbled floor.  She gasped and ran off, but I looked at the birds.

Where there had been several – some gray doves, a sparrow or two, and a few black crows – there now were only two crows.  They hopped around the table and pecked at something; I went to look, and saw a strange, cream-colored animal skull sitting on the floor.  It looked like a coyote skull, with a long nose and a row of incisors at the front, but it also had small, delicately spiraling antelope horns on the back of the skull.  Only the animal’s left horn was there, the other presumably broken off, so I picked it up and looked at the empty place where the right horn should have been.  I could see the tip of the horn poking out, as if someone had jammed the thing down inside the skull.  I reached for the tip of the horn to pull it out, and a spider crawled out – I’m terrified of spiders, so I dropped it, right on the top of the skull.  It made a hollow sound as it hit the pebbled floor, but did not break.  I looked up, as a crow cawed at me, then back down – and the strange skull was gone.

Instead, there was a grey wolf with predatory bird’s legs in place of its forelegs.  This did not seem strange to me.  Still thinking about the weird skull, I went to the back of the store to turn off the music and the lights.  Once everything was dark, and all the people were gone, I went back to the spot where I dropped the skull and picked some white pebbles up, rubbing them together in my hand.  The bird-wolf watched me.

Then, as if my gesture influenced my decision, I went to the airport and bought a plane ticket.  I have no idea where I was going, but after spending a few dream-hours sitting in cramped vinyl seats, I decided it was folly and went home with a pilfered copy of W magazine, so that I could crawl into a proper bed. I woke before my alarm went off, feeling rested in the morning for the first time in weeks.

What do you make of that?

Also, does anyone in Portland have a taxidermy rooster I could borrow for a drawing?

As a side note: The print I’ll be sending off to Rainbow Ross for the “baggage” print exchange is based off a dream I had, too.  I suppose you could say that print started me on this trajectory.


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