About Me:i am 27 years old and i am a very sentimental person. i am very interested in witchcraft and the occult but don't get me wrong, i am not a devil worshipper. actually, i am a devout catholic and i don't really consider witchcraft as a religion, just a way of life like being a vegetarian or doing yoga. i know that i can be a very good friend and i am very loyal and sweet. i can be your worst enemy if you did something horrible to me but that rarely happens so don't let that turn you off. :-) i am someone whom you can turn to in times of trouble and i am willing to lend a shoulder when you want something to cry on. if you want a good friend then i am your guy.
Music:britney spears, lady gaga, dido, jessica simpson, michelle branch,
Movies:titanic, legally blonde, the craft, practical magic,
Although often pink and pretty, Mark Ryden’s paintings are not for the faint of heart. In his dazzling mixmaster universe, symbols of truth and innocence intermingle with signs of adulteration and dark mystery. Among his spectacles are fuzzy bunnies ripped in half and gushing red blood; a pumpkin-headed president presiding over a bizarre paradise of toddlers, devil-dog, and chirping God; Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ joining the circus, juggling raw meat and parading balloons; and, throughout, prepubescent girls who languidly pose for voyeurs’ gazes. At once disturbingly funny, nightmarish, and obsessive, this strange vision lands Ryden squarely in the camp of the carnivalesque—a strain of visual culture rooted in such works as Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (about 1505) and Pieter Bruegel’s Peasant Dance (1565) and, more recently, James Ensor’s Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 (1888) and Richard Hamilton’s Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956). Ryden’s paintings stand tall in this eccentric canon.
The alternative art lineage of the carnivalesque to which Ryden belongs stems from the tradition of the Carnival, a celebration first recorded in the later Middle Ages as a pre-Lenten feast culminating in Mardi Gras. Pale now in comparison with its past, Carnival is and has been many things with its masks, monsters, feasts, games, pageants, and processions. In an atmosphere of revelry and with impertinence toward authority, the Carnival encompasses irreverent juxtapositions of popular and elite, spiritual and material, young and old, male and female, ordinary identity and masquerade guises.
Carnivalesque art, in contrast to its counterpart of the streets, has all these elements but is not so lighthearted because it ultimately refuses escapism.1 Its aim is to confront. The would-be reveler is transformed into a captive spectator who is shown his or her mortality and that all is not quite right with the world. Laughter is invoked, but not for distraction—rather to trigger anxiety. At this, Ryden is a master. He entices by setting the center stage with cotton candy colors, juvenile vixens, party hats, and cuddly plush pets. In the move from macrocosm to microcosm, however, the viewer unearths alchemical symbols, religious and political emblems, traces of past and current popular culture, as well as arcane literary and art-historical references. The initial perception of an idealized childlike dreamscape is methodically inverted step-by-step and bit-by-bit in the details. For, unlike the viewer, who starts with a broad sweep, Ryden begins by painting under magnification, structuring his surrealistic playgrounds from the inside out with layers of ominous meanings. With tiny twists of paint, he transgresses and mutates the standard themes of societal makeup. In underpinning the sweet and shiny funhouse with the bawdy and base madhouse, Ryden reminds us that both purity and existence are fleeting and ephemeral....
. The twentieth-century Russian author and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975) is a scholar often cited on the subject of the carnivalesque, and his point of departure was the work of François Rabelais, a French writer, monk, humanist, and physician whose novels Gargantua and Pantagruel are among the wittiest classics of world literature.2 Bakhtin divides carnivalesque art into three forms, which are often interwoven: ritualized spectacles, comic compositions, and various genres of billingsgate (abusive languages). These forms can be applied to analyzing Ryden’s imagery, for, like Rabelais, this artist has a particular talent for carnivalizing life.
In the painting Snow White, as a case in point, Ryden raises a lovely Bronzino-blue curtain on the contemporary ritualized spectacle of going to the movie theater—a place where we gain knowledge of cultural values. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated movie and the most influential film for children ever produced, was released by Disney in 1937.3 Although based on the more Gothic fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers, the sugar-coated Americanized version of “the fairest of them all . . . with hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as a rose” has come to signify principles of purity and goodness. Ryden wryly suggests through the symbols of the rose, lily, and even more tellingly the small statuette of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we venerate the icon of Snow White as if she were the Holy Mother. Nevertheless, things are amiss in Snow White’s Edenic paradise, as indicated by the reference on the clown-labeled wine bottle (referring to the blood of Christ) to Luke 22:13. The theme of this biblical chapter, which begins Luke’s version of the Passion, is Judas’s betrayal of Jesus at the Last Supper for the love of money. Perhaps there is a capitalist’s deception in the Disney-esque scene.
According to Ryden’s magic mirror, Our Snow White Lady is not chaste, nor is she sitting primly in a traditional enclosed garden. Instead, this composition is a comic combination of Edouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, 1863, and his Olympia of the same year, two modern masterpieces that provoked a storm of outrage in Paris over the alleged indecency of the naked female form Snow White’s heavenly feast (alluded to on the cross held by the flame-hearted bunny) is certainly not the ambiguous picnic in the park of Manet. Instead, it is clearly a carnal affair, emblematized by the odalisque pose, slab of meat, and beast-filled primordial landscape. Is Ryden insinuating that in this land of the free and carnivorous, we worship the media prostitution of young girls who are held up for collective sexual consumption in ritualized spectacles?
Ryden doesn’t content himself to play only with the vocabularies of art history, Western religion, and American pop culture in his carnivalesque exploits. He also ventures into the arena of multiculturalism. In this instance, the book with a gold-leafed head of the Buddha is strategically placed over our heroine’s pudenda. The reference invokes a time in sixth century before the present era, when religious practices in India were in need of reform. Insincere priests duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. The masses following in their footsteps performed empty rituals. At such a critical period of degeneration, the Buddha was born and taught the people a message of equality, unity, and cosmic compassion everywhere. Like the use or abuse of Christian iconography in Ryden’s enchanted kingdom, the Buddha’s presence over Snow White’s body is questionable: saint or snake? Holy Word or billingsgate?
The carnivalesque characteristics of ritual spectacles, comic compositions, and roguish play with various genres of visual language are consistent in Ryden’s oeuvre even as his themes shift from one image to the next. The atom of gold (identified by its atomic number 79) hovering in Puella Animo Aureo (The Girl with the Golden Soul), for example, invites the alert observer into a yin and yang tale of the natural and supernatural, science and alchemy, orderly systems and chaos. “Honest Abe,” a figure closely associated with our notions of liberty and human rights, repeatedly appears into Ryden’s work and with particular frisson in The Butcher Bunny. Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday in 1865 while watching the third act of the comedy Our American Cousin. Amongst the slaughterhouse yield in this sinister bunny’s shop, the miniature president——and by implication what he represents—seems powerless and insignificant as he is guided by a doe-eyed lass. Each painting provides its own unique and engrossing journey.
In all the high-spirited suspension of hierarchic distinctions and prohibitions, the very pleasures of the Carnival are at the same time philosophical modes. So too are the delights in the Ryden’s carnivalesque paintings. His work deserves a careful reading to discover those visual threads that connect the pastiches into thoughtful reflections on culture, time, life, and death. Like going to the Carnival, Ryden’s paintings should be relished and enjoyed as festive aesthetic pleasures, the world turned topsy-turvy, destruction and creation; as theories of culture, history, and destiny; as utopia, cosmology and philosophy . . . and, as painting.
This girl was babysitting for some family friends one night, a little boy and a little girl. The parents had a fetish for clowns and had collected clowns from around the world for years, setting aside a room in the house just to put them on display. That night, the children were playing in this very room. Many of the clowns were just statues, and some were life-size, one in particular, was seated in a small child-like rocking chair.
The babysitter started to feel more and more uneasy about this statue throughout the night. She felt as though the eyes were following her, whenever she moved around the room with the children. She decided to call the parents. "I'm so sorry to bother you", she said, "but I was wondering if I could move this clown that you have in the rocking chair, it’s starting to scare the kids and I."
"What clown are you referring to? I don’t recall us having a clown fitting that description. Are you sure its sitting in the rocking chair?" the mother asked hurriedly.
"Yes, I’m sure.” said the girl. "It’s sitting right here, I’m looking at it right now...Why? I know it's probably very old and I shouldn't attempt to move it out of the way, but."
"Take the kids and get out of the house, now. The neighbor across the street will let you in. Call me immediately when you get there." and with that, the mother hung up.
Frightened and confused, the babysitter grabbed the kids and ran out. When she and the kids arrived safely at the neighbors, she called and the mother answered. "What's wrong? Did something happen? Are you all okay?" the girl asked.
"Yes, we are fine, but its not us we are worried about, its you and the kids. I’m so glad you called--we were afraid this would happen again. We will be there shortly along with the police, I’ll explain everything when we get there", and the mother hung up.
The parents later explained to the girl that for some time, the next-door neighbor had been giving them problems. He was mentally ill, heard voices, the whole bit. On numerous occasions he had snuck into their house and tried to kidnap the children. This time, he dressed up in a clown suit, painted his face, and waited quietly until he had the opportunity to do what he came to do.
The parents had informed the police many times but never had any proof until now about what was happening. They thanked the girl, paid her, and drove her home.
I am currently sitting in front of my computer, scared witless. Every moment could be my last. My friend is here with me and he is the sole reason why my life is in danger. It may not make sense at first, but let me explain.
It all started earlier today, when a friend of mine burst into my house and slammed the door behind him. His eyes were wide with fear and he stood there with his back against the door, breathing heavily. I asked him what had happened and he told me this story:
He had been living with his Aunt for the past year because his parents were in Mexico. They were doing mission work at a small hospital in Southern Mexico. The previous night, a bedraggled man had stumbled through the entrance of the hospital. He was screaming in Spanish and appeared to be out of his mind with terror.
They brought him over to a chair and let him sit down. As he caught his breath, he told his story in broken English. He claimed that his sister had been killed by something he referred to as “La Muerto Blanco”. He kept saying that it was coming for him next.
Confused, they asked him who or what a Muerte Blanca was. With a look of unfathomable fear on his face, he said that La Muerte Blanca was The White Death. She is the soul of a girl who died years ago. She died by her own hand, he said, alone and unloved. She hated life so much that she wanted to remove all traces of herself from the earth. So great was her desire to completely obliterate her memory, that she returned from the dead as a vengeful spirit, bent on killing all those who knew of her existence.
She is a girl, but not a girl, he said. She’s not dead, but not really alive. She has cold, white eyes that weep blood. She walks without ever actually seeming to move an inch. She stalks her victims like a wild animal, pursuing them across rivers and valleys, trailing them back to their homes. You are never really aware that she is following you, until you hear her telltale knock upon your door.
“She knocks once for you skin, which she’ll use to patch her own decaying flesh. Twice for your hair, which she’ll gnash between her teeth. Three times for your bones, which she’ll fashion into clubs. Four times for your heart, which she’ll tear out of your chest. Five times for your teeth, which she’ll polish and keep in a box. Six times for your eyes, which she’ll pluck out one by one. Seven times for your soul, which she’ll swallow whole.”
“No matter where you go, The White Death will track you down and you will hear her terrible knocking begin on the door. You can try to outrun her, but she’s faster than any mortal man. If you flee from your home while she’s knocking on your door, she will follow you wherever you go.”
The terrified man was certain that this thing had killed his sister. He had tried to tell the police, about The White Death but they would not listen, dismissing it as an old wives’ tale. Next, he had tried to tell his priest, but the priest immediately shut the door of the church in his face and turned him away. The priest had seen The White Death following him, he said, and did not want to get involved.
With his head in his hands, the frightened man said that The White Death follows you forever until you tell someone else about it. Then it strikes. It kills you and begins following the person you told.
After finishing his tale, the man stole a car from the mission hospital parking lot, and vanished into the night.
Apparently, my friend’s mother and father had immediately called his aunt and told her about the stange man they had encountered. They asked her if she had ever heard of the White Death. She said she had not and they proceeded to tell her the story that the man had told them.
The aunt got a phonecall later that night. It was the Mexican police. They told her that the parents had been found dead outside the hospital. They had been torn apart.
My friend’s aunt had immediately called him at school to break the bad news to him. As he cried, she told him she couldn’t understand what had happened. She recounted the whole story to him, telling him about the strange man who had turned up in the hospital just hours before his parents were found dead. She told him how the man had given his parents a weird and disturbing story about something called The White Death.
When he hung up the phone, he had struggled to come to terms with what had happened. It almost didn’t seem real to him. When he got home after school, he found the front door of his Aunt’s house standing open. Inside was a trail of blood, leading into the kitchen. There on the kitchen floor, he found his Aunt’s dead body. She had been torn limb from limb.
He ran out of the house and all the way across town, never looking back, until he reached my house. As he told me this story, I could hardly believe it. Within the space of a day, his mother, his father and his aunt had been murdered. It all seemed too far-fetched.
But before I could utter a word, my friend and I both recoiled in horror as we heard a knocking begin at my front door.
We’ve been staring at the door for an hour now, neither of us wanting to open it. The knocking is still going on, growing louder and louder. She never gives up. She never quits. La Muerto Blanco is unstoppable. I think she wants to scare us, my friend and I. I think she wants us to blame each other. And I do - I blame my friend. It’s all his fault. He should never have told about her.
As I sit here in my house, beside my friend, both of us listening to that hideous knocking growing ever louder, I wish a lot of things. I wish she had killed my friend before he reached my house. If he had never been able to tell me about her, I wouldn’t be in danger now. I’m sorry I ever met him.
And I’m sorry for you too. I’m sorry I made you read this story. I’m sorry I ever told you about the White Death. Because now that you know about her, she’ll be coming for you next.