Cruelty and Beauty

“Cruelty and Beauty”, pencil drawing on board, self made frame, book matched veneer alligator and crocodile hide (made from broken vintage purses), 36″h x 46″w.

When haven’t sacrifices made in pursuing the beautification and decoration of human beings? Kohl (soot & galena (lead sulfide), used by the Egyptians for eye make-up. Rings coils to lengthen the necks for the “Giraffe” women of Africa and the women of Thailand and Burma. Tattoos. Restrictive and contorting corsets. Chinese “lotus feet” shoes which crippled women.

The natural world was and still remains an inspiration for us and fashion designers alike. Birds were decimated for hat plumes, furriers by public demand brought some species and often to the brink of extinction. But how beautiful and compelling are the feathers, skins, horns and shells of the creatures we share our planet with?

Only recently and from the early part of the 20th century has there been any recognition and conservation effort to stop and try to reverse these trends. My drawing of the 1940s alligator purse is shown as if it is hanging on a wall and suspended there by a huge leather needle. Both beautiful and tragic here as a fashion icon it almost seems absurd. However, in a survival situation and depending on who eats who, to the winner goes the spoils. If things were reversed, would in fact the gator wear a pair of human cowboy boots??

Skin and hide for frame retrieved from women’s old, broken, vintage, pocketbooks.
Here the title says it all (I hope) and here who really is the “fashion victim” and the point.