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thumbnails below to view a larger image.
This idea for this project had it's beginning over 20 years ago. I had
always been fascinated with scarecrows and had thought it would be fun to
make one. Then I read the Günter Grass book The Dog Years that is
about a 4-year-old boy who starts to build scarecrows and continues as he
grows older. From that point on I knew that I would make a series of
scarecrows, but wasn't sure what form they would take. I wanted them to be
original, seductive, intriguing and a bit eerie. Over the years I have
given them much thought but never really hit on the right angle.
I even had a group of people in one of my figure drawing classes make them. I picked up many crutches and other odds and ends at Goodwill, chicken wire, plaster and other materials at the hardware store. Anything I found that I felt would inspire the group. There were some wonderful results and many original scarecrows seen in gardens that fall in Stonington. But I was no closer to my personal plan.
A few years ago I was in the English and Irish countryside and saw these absolutely beautiful large nests in the trees. They were almost sculptures in themselves. They turned out to be raven's nests and the ravens were beautiful too. I loved to watch them flying against the sky and I loved the sounds they made. Returning to the states I started paying more attention to our ravens and crows, and of course started to rethink my scarecrow project. I found whatever books I could on these birds and discovered how clever and smart they are and how a scarecrow had never been developed that actually kept the birds away from crops for any prolonged period of time. Many different types had been tried around the world, even some with gunpowder, but eventually the crows figured out a way to get around them.
Suddenly a brainstorm hit me after 20 years: scarecrows should be “scary crows.” ALPHA CROWS! So simple, I couldn't believe it.
These are the reasons and hows of this project, and of how it finally developed into what you are viewing.
Russell Jinishian - jrusselljinishiangallery.com
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