The Story of Soggy Toast....in Ten Parts...Part Ten

Part Ten: the Mummified Sex Toy in the Coffee Grounds

Taxidermy has always been a strange and guilty fascination of mine. I have always found myself drawn to those beasts that I've encountered in stores and homes, mesmerized by their perfectly preserved and posed existence. I have even, on many occasions, given serious thought to taking the practice up and learning the art; and while I don't condone or even understand hunting, especially as a 'sport' or more so as using the kill for nothing more than a trophy for bragging rights, I have to admit being in awe and captivated by the said trophies.
The closest I've really ever come to this work or art form is digitally, with Photoshop. For years I've had a love of finding as many usable animal pics as I can and then digitally altering them, usually combining two or more animals together to create something new.


I've called this process my Taxidermy mainly due to the fact that it would be exactly what I'd be doing with real preserved animals, had I ever learned the technique. This is also my favorite practice in Photoshop, which is, combining images together and trying to make it appear seamless and plausible. I use it almost daily for a variety of reasons, not just for my Taxidermy projects: I've done it for my recent book cover designs like the cover of Tonic (the winged bottle) in my last post; I've used it professionally in some of the commercial work that I've done in the past; and it's even the technique behind my online avatar.

This has been a post that I have been intending to do for a long time. Actually, this is a post that I should have done a while back, that is, the story behind my thumbnail picture. I can't even count the number of times I've been asked what it is, if it's real and why it got the name 'zombiespoon'. I have seriously lost track. Will this post stop the influx of those queries? No, probably not at all. But, after posting this I'll add the link to my collection of quick-links in order to quickly point the askers here, seeing as my responses to the questions have gone from detailed answers in the beginning to one word responses as of late.

First there is the name 'zombiespoon'. Basically, this came from a day of frustration, many years ago, when trying to come up with an online moniker that hadn't already been chosen by a few hundred, if not few thousand, people before. I'm sure most of you remember originally typing in your name somewhere online only to have it returned to you followed by a large number indicating how many of you already exist out there. It's a frustrating process.
So, rather than settle with being the 389th of anything, I started plugging in whatever different ideas came to mind. This took more time than I could have possibly expected (are you aware that at that time there were already over a hundred "eggfuckers" out there?). Finally after much frustration, I typed in zombiespoon....and it came back clean.
Exciting so far, isn't it? Just wait, it only gets better.....well, no....actually it doesn't.

Next, the doll.
The doll itself is real, and was a gift to me by a friend. I have a great fondness for strange, old and weathered dolls and collect them.


As you can see, the actual doll is completely faceless. This picture is a still from a short movie I did when testing out my new webcam.
I had been using the name zombiespoon for a good while before the thumbnail that you see today was ever actually conceived. Mostly on another social networking website known as LouisvilleMojo, which was much like myspace, only for people residing in Louisville, and where the lonely, large and socially inept could meet online and anonymously hate on one another. Great fun!
I changed my thumbnail picture regularly, until the day I was goofing off and quickly added a cat's mouth to that still.


Almost at once, the people that I conversed with, or made fun of, started referring to the doll image itself as zombiespoon. The image and the name became one on their own, which was fine to me.
That image remained unchanged until around the time that I discovered myspace. I just felt that the zombiespoon doll needed a bit of refining, an upgrade. The zombiespoon that you see today is the combination of the same doll pic merged with the distorted mouth of a piranha that I found online.


From here, I went a little insane. Starting slowly, by making holiday versions of the zombiespoon to post on their respectful days, to a period of mass creation of different zombiespoon personas....most of which haven't even been showed until now:


One would think that with this group I might have finally gotten it all out of my system, but no. I'm still looking for any excuse to alter the image into something else.....any suggestions for which will be appreciated and considered, altering this little guy has become one of my new favorite things to do....alongside drinking coffee and talking to inanimate objects.

Coming back to the art of taxidermy (true taxidermy, not my digital version of it), I have wanted to add the toothy mouth to the real doll for some time. I feel fairly confident in the fact that I could most likely sculpt one myself, using polymer clays and enamels with air brushes, but I have no idea what the best way to attach it to the doll would be, which is why I've been so hesitant. The last thing I'd want to do is to destroy the little guy (this is, of course, assuming that the doll survived the storage disaster....I'm still waiting to see and keeping my fingers crossed).
Several months ago I watched a program about the history and art of taxidermy. The show followed the timeline from the early techniques of the practice to the styles and skills of today. The part that intrigued me the most was near the end of the program, when they covered one of the newest techniques. There are taxidermists now out there that can create animals for you from a photograph, or even just from description. Using any of their hundreds of models and sheer artistry they can create almost any animal in any wanted pose using no part of a real critter. I watched in awe as one of these artists finished the detail work on the mouth of a carnivore in mid growl....no teeth, no bone....just pure sculpture.
Of course I thought of my zombiespoon guy.
At the time I was still in Pennsylvania, which seems like it would be a prime area for taxidermists, seeing as deer season seems to be a weekly occurrence and hunters will actually walk, armed, through neighborhoods and take down game in full view of nearby swing sets. But this was right before leaving to come to Denver, so I never got the opportunity to search.
I still plan to at least follow up on this idea, once I get settled here. I actually look forward to explaining what I want done to the unsuspecting taxidermist and studying his expression....and if he says no, I plan to follow up with asking him if he would instead be willing to create a monkey reading a Bible while a family of snakes escape from it's butt. Hell, this could be a new past time, asking taxidermists to create the most ridiculous of items.
"I was writing to inquire whether it would be possible for your company to recreate a three headed mouse fucking a door knob. Time is critical as this is to be an anniversary gift to my wife."


Finally, this was the last of my ten part directionless series, which was supposed to land on my 100th MySpace blog post (LiveJournal readers....I have NO idea what post we're at), and it would have too, had I not witness the motorcycle accident that just recently stopped haunting me while I slept. So now, please join me in celebrating my 101st post!
(blows into a party horn and throws dry ramen noodles in the air, not having confetti)