The Origin of the RabbitThe Rabbit was born of frustration. It emerged as a way to cope with a reality that had gone haywire. A world that had been turned upside down.
It was a sunny spring afternoon when Christopher and I walked down a deserted street, a street that at any other time would be bustling with tourists enjoying all the beauty and entertainment our little resort town has to offer. On that day the usually vibrant, crowded, noisy place was quiet. Eerily quiet. Some few people ghosted past us keeping a careful distance. Masked. Hidden. Hardly noticeable.
The all-encompassing, all-permeating fear was getting to me and I reacted the way I always react to fear: with anger.
I was angry! Angry at the stupid fear, angry at the stupid humans, angry at the stupid masks. “I don’t want to wear the stupid mask!” I exclaimed at some point, “I would rather just stay the fuck away from people!”
“Stay the fuck away from me!” mused Christopher, “That would be a great t-shirt".
If ever there was a time to embark upon a creative project it was right then. After all what else were we going to do? I don’t believe we ever truly seriously considered launching a t-shirt sales operation, but there was so much in this endeavor that was compelling and attractive. So much to design, so much to create: the t-shirt itself, product shots, promotional shots, advertising campaign. I do so enjoy designing things. We dove headfirst into the adventure for the sheer pleasure of creating.
Once we had our product designed and shirt samples ready to shoot, we decided to use me as a model and, in order to avoid lengthy process of photoshopping my forty-five year old face into a semblance of a twenty year old, I though I might as well wear a mask. Masks, after all, were a theme in those days. The theme music, the 2020 mascot, the spirit animal, the mantra. I settled on a rabbit for no reason other than aesthetics - it was the most interesting of all the masks I saw around. Also there was something, especially at that time, about falling down a rabbit hole…
It was all downhill from there. Literally. The image of a rabbit-as-character out in the world gained momentum as it snowballed from serving merely as a fashion model to an artistic muse.
I’ve never understood photography as an art form. No matter how many times Christopher tried to explain the creative aspect of it, I’ve always seen taking photos as little more than documenting what already exists. It’s “taking” photos, not “creating” photos for a reason, I always thought. I understood that there is a fair amount of skill involved in composing an image well, not to mention knowing how to properly operate the camera. And even so, in the end, I could not help but think that it is the camera that does most of the work. A human “just” operates the machine, just like any skilled technician would.
But then the rabbit emerged, a three dimensional character existing in a three dimensional reality, a character I could position in various places, create scenes, create worlds, create realities which we could then capture in the form of photos that were - and are unquestionably - art.
A whole new world of possibilities opened before me. A whole world of experiences I’d never imagine myself experiencing.
I would never have believed that in my mid-forties I’d become a model, prancing around in a leotard, jumping up and down on a trampoline, hanging off of walls, climbing up mountains, all while wearing a rabbit mask. It’s the rabbit that caused this.
There is a wildness about the rabbit, an untamed quality that recognizes no limitations not only in the safe and private confines of my imagination, but out in the world, the real world, the physical world where other people are.
It is not always easy or comfortable to keep up with the wildness of the rabbit.
Humans, after all, have limits, and the rabbit has none.
Yet for the time being, where the rabbit leads, Christopher and I follow.
Follow Pausha down the rabbit hole!
A compilation of ancient fables illustrated with pieces from my “A Bird in the Hand” drawing collection is now available for your perusal and, hopefully, enjoyment.
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