If I were to identify whom might be my number one influence in my artistic endeavors, it most certainly would be Dr. Seuss aka Theodore Geisel. While Walt Disney the man, not the brand is close, Seuss was a bit more of a rags to literary wealth success story, which for me embodies the American dream. He single handidly changed the way in which young people learn to read and in turn see the world around them.
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss
On this special day acknowledging Mr. Geisel, please allow me to geek out for a bit and share some of my favorite Seuss and Seussisms.
As a young boy, one of my fondest treasures was my plastic Cat in the Hat book rack and the Seuss book subscription that came with it. Every month a new book would arrive by mail. So it's not to much of a stretch to reveal that I collect Dr. Seuss memorabilia. I'm a bit of a purist though, most of what I'm interested in are the items he, himself authorized. I guess you could so original Seuss. Although I do have some of the more recent things from the much more common licensing programs of the Grinch, Cat in the Hat, Horton and others.
As a prop maker, I'd sure love to get my hands on some of the vintage pieces used in the mostly unknown Dr. Seuss' 1953 live action movie 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. Falling stylistically and time wise somewhere between the1939 Wizard of Oz and the darker 1971 Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, this piece has classic big picture production glam, musical numbers and characters all with Dr. Seuss's twist, his slightly dark twist of course. Viewers of the Seuss classic will undoubtedly recognize the voice actor of Disney's Dr. Hook, Hans Conreid in his live action forray as Dr. Terrwilliker, a mad man set on imprisoning children to become his 5000 finger human piano troop.
Some of the cult classic and high level production scenes include a frightfully dark elevator ride, an orchestral prison, beard entwined roller skating twins and the hexing and vexing between Conried and the story's unwilling hero and plumber August Zabladowski.
Throughout my Embellishments career I've had the pleasure of channeling Mr. Geisel in many a project. I've created props, sets and floors for dance groups performing a Cat in the Hat and Grinch hybrid show and one portraying a Sneetch theme (2001 video below) of those who have and those who do not. Pay close attention to the rolling yellow Sneetch on and off machine box I designed and engineered. Oh, what fun!
10 years ago, I had the honor of designing a little girls Seuss inspired room. Back then you dare didn't paint copyrighted characters or face being sued. So, I had to rely on Seuss like props to get the point across. The room's bed canopy, wall mount table, light fixture and corner shelf were my nod to Seuss.
Hanging up in my studio is my "Nesting Head Doe". She is a creation of mine that I used in a blog post about the difference between being inspired by someones work and copying it. She was brought to life to illustrate the point. Dr. Seuss created a series of "taxidermy" mounts and so I chose to create my own inspired by him.
" I made it my own with Seuss in my thoughts. A tribute to him, no stealing, no cops. Now look what I did, enjoy it you may. Now look what I did, be inspired this way. As you sit on your bumple, scratching your head, "what is it to be original, what is it I said?" It's a place in your heart, a place in mind, a place that all artists must honestly find. - A.C."
These are somewhat literal examples of my Seuss worship. Hopefully, I have turned his inspiration into action from my fingertips. I know I see it in my work.
Dr. Seuss was with me when I was little dreaming big and he's still here while I'm dreaming little for my clients. Happy Seuss day my friends. Please share with me your Seuss revelations.
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron