On Sept. 19th Constable & Robinson will release their latest book Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy. I recently posted about the compendium film I am doing "Where Kittens Wed and Birds Lament" in conjunction with the book and here at 4 in the morning I find myself awake with a few more "meditations" on the significance of Potter's work.
I am just back from a strange dream where I was trapped in one of Potter's taxidermy tableaux. I woke up (laughing) and couldn't get back to sleep. I decided to go back to editing the film wondering what my dream might have meant (certainly aware that my mental health is becoming a bit of a joke!). At first I thought - logically - Since i am immersed in the making of his film, I'm trapped in Potter's world... I'm "editing" my way into his taxidermied world of card playing squirrels and speakeasy rats...
Enslaved? Well not quite. You see - Potter's work accesses a place in my mind (and I am sure many others) that's become a distant valley as I get older. His work has a childlike innocence that resounds through the ages. Though dead and occasionally creepy, his creations are pure and honest. Even his piece 'The Lower Five' which features wayward rats smoking, drinking, gambling and doing all sorts of naughty things, speaks to the child in me.
For almost 150 years his work has remained innocent and brought millions of fans back to that place they perhaps left behind long ago. Though Potter's world may be a complete fantasy, escaping into that fantasy even briefly can prove to have a profound effect on even the most jaded viewer. Potter's World... The world behind the glass... Safe and still... Trapped in time. Lifeless, but very much alive.
We hope to have the film Where Kittens Wed and Birds Lament Finished in time for Halloween!
Photos courtesy of Joanna Ebenstein / Morbid Anatomy