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Curse of the Manitou

  • Curse of the Manitou
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$15.00
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1.00 LBS
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Product Description

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Holy s---!

-actor Lance Henriksen (upon seeing Curse of the Manitou and stopping by our booth at Scarefest, 2011)


This picture has really resonated with people. I love werewolf mythology and the whole concept of animal possession/transformation. One thing that has always intrigued me most about werewolves is the transformation itself; the actual physical process by which man changes into beast has always been an endless source of fascination for me. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a “lap dissolve” scene from an old black-and-white film (e.g., Universal’s 1941 film The Wolfman starring Lon Chaney, Jr.), a bone-crunching Rick Baker or Rob Bottin latex lycanthropic metamorphosis (An American Werewolf in London and The Howling), or an Underworld-esque CGI shape-shifting sequence. I love them all.


With Curse of the Manitou I wanted to explore the somewhat less prevalent process of man-to-animal transformation: the type where beast breaks free of man. The scene from The Company of Wolves was clearly a source of inspiration for me, but I also drew from a vastly underrated season one episode of The X-Files called “Shapes”, in which we see the "shedding of human skin" concept explored. It is from this episode that I drew the title of this piece. “Shapes” is steeped in Native American mythology, and there are numerous references to a dark animal spirit, or Manitou, which also served to inform my drawing.
I learned a lot of interesting things while working on this piece. The Manitou of Native American mythology was originally used as a term for “Great Spirit” or to describe the supernatural world in general. No “good” or “bad” connotations were originally ascribed to it. It was not until Christian missionaries sought to “enlighten” native peoples that the concept took on its dual nature---“good” Manitou and “evil” Manitou. The Native American belief/practice of shape-shifting was considered to be a profound and powerful spiritual experience, to which the polarization of “evil” or “good” did not apply. However, while working on this drawing, I also learned that when someone sees a picture of a slavering werewolf snout bursting from a human mouth, it tends to freak them out.


Charcoal on Paper, 2011


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