In terms of the arts, I am what you would call an ultra-sophisticated hardcore latte-sipping Apple-using artiste. Of course, that’s only if you don’t count the artiste, Apple-using, latte-sipping, hardcore and ultra-sophisticated parts. But still, I’m one ultra-artistic individual. Or at least, now that I’m in college.
All right, all right. Realistically, I am the spawn of rednecks whose concept of awesome art boils down to posters of wolves and mountains all over the house. At my house, we have numerous rooms, named primarily by the type of art we have in them. For example, one room is named the “Wolf Room”, where I keep my wolf memorabilia. We have our “Living Room”, named for the pictures of buffalo we have on the wall facing the big-screen TV. In addition, we also have real life in our living room, in the form of various types of mold floating about in the air from the remains of childrens’ forgotten peanut butter sandwiches. We have a “Lego Room”, where I keep my urbane and sophisticated Lego bricks; and our “Utility Room”, where we keep our fine wines and soda pop.
And yes, we have Pepsi Throwback. And sardines. That is the kind of sophistication my family has.
Anyway, my artistic background goes along these lines. And so for me, building my Water God costume was the highlight of the art I have created so far. The Water God is a noble concept, one which I pondered for quite a long time before I finally got around to actually building it. I built it in the hopes that I can get into architecture school and design buildings for a living, because, let’s be honest here, Legos can only go so far, and whenever I have ambitions of building a working radio station out of Lego bricks my ambitions have gone where Legos can carry me no further.
The Water God, or Water Pope, consists of a rain slick and a large cone-shaped hat made of cardboard and duct tape. Out of the top sticks a sprinkler head, which shoots water up five feet in the air. I wear gloves with water hoses duct-taped to them. When somebody turns on the garden hose, water shoots out of my wrists, out the top of my hat, and out a water spigot attached to my nose, because I also attached a garden hose there.
Don’t laugh! I really did build this contraption! I can’t show pictures of it yet, but the basic gist of the concept is that I was required to build something that would enable me to do something I otherwise could not do. My decision was that, although touching both ends of a room with your fingertips would be cool, it was nothing like being able to shoot water from your head, nose and wrists at the same time.
Out at the back of the art building at my school I was standing, in this dark raincoat and black cone-shaped hat, with blue tape attached to make it look like a tribal mask, and when the water came out, the feeling was electric. I was the Water God. I could shoot water from my head, nose and wrists at the same time! It was a powerful feeling. And, best of all, I didn’t get wet, except for my shoes.
My latest project, the Balloon Tree of Destiny, is set to be wayyyyy cooler than even the Water God. It only requires standard household balloons, duct tape, fifty feet of water hose, at least a dozen water bottles, a Home Depot “Homer Bucket”, several packets of yeast, sugar, water, aluminum foil, and probably at least one Anglican priest. In the end, however, it transforms into something beautiful: A giant thing made of balloons, hose and duct tape that kind of looks like a tree if you squint really hard.
This is going to be a powerful statement regarding trees, generally. Trees are important to me. They are green, and green is my favorite color, and sometimes trees have squirrels in them, which are adorable furry woodland creatures that you can hug and get mauled by.
The Balloon Tree of Destiny is a dissection of Man’s respect and reverence of trees. It represents themes as complex as the ancient caveman, who liked to pretend that trees had evil spirits in them, which they don’t; everybody knows that trees are inanimate objects, they have as much life as a pencil sharpener or a rock. My project represents Johnny Appleseed, who, as with my project, proved that a man with far too much time on his hands can do incredible things that nobody with half a brain would ever do, such as plant apple trees all over New England, or build a pretend tree out of garden hose and inflatable balloons. My project represents emos, via the very famous tree in California that you can drive through, because that tree had a hole in it that no emo’s ear piercing can ever match.
And, frankly, my tree represents God. Much more so, in fact, than a Water God ever could. Water Gods may come and go, but a tree will always serve as a natural lightning rod, and that’s something a Water God could probably do if he felt like it. So there.