Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Crippled Jackson Pollock

A lot of people view cripple art in the same dismissive way they view cripple sports.  The prevailing image of cripple sports is a giant clown face painted on a slab of wood that’s mounted upright and there are holes cut out where the clown’s eyes, nose and mouth ought to be. And cripples try to toss beanbags through the holes. And the winner gets a medal and a hug. And so do the losers. And the prevailing image of cripple art is a stick figure sculpture made out of pipe cleaners. Or maybe made out of Popsicle sticks glued together with Elmer’s.

But there’s a crippled abstract expressionist painter from Spain who may well destroy all the negative stereotypes about crippled artists. His name is Alejandro Mierda de Toro and he’s paralyzed from the neck down. He broke his neck in a tragic accident from which he learned a valuable lesson:  NEVER text while running with the bulls.

 Mierda de Toro can only move his head. He was an art student at the time of his accident but he remained determined to achieve his dream of becoming a famous painter. His therapists encouraged him by introducing him to the work of the many crippled artists from around the world who paint by holding a paintbrush in their mouth. But their style left him cold. He saw it as hotel art-- paint-by-numbers-looking pictures of old barns and soaring eagles.

Mierda de Toro wanted to paint in the drip, splatter and splash style of his idol, American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.  One day Mierda de Toro had a revelation and on that day he found his voice as a crippled artist. He decided he would indeed use his mouth to paint, but he would not use a brush.  Thus, in a typical painting session, one of Mierda de Toro uncrippled assistants stood eagerly by. The artist studied his canvas intensely and called out for a color, as a surgeon calls out for an instrument. The assistant then dropped a straw into a canister containing that color of paint and held it up to the artist’s mouth. The artist drew in a precise mouthful of the paint through the straw and then spat the paint onto the canvas.

The results are nothing short of amazing. Mierda de Toro has created countless new colors by sloshing multiple colors of paint around in his mouth before spitting.

Art historians refer to this early stage of Mierda de Toro’s career as his spit period. During this time, the entire inside of his mouth looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, even though he gargled regularly with turpentine.

Mierda de Toro then evolved into what is known as his turkey baster period. His assistants held up turkey basters filled with paint and Mierda de Toro applied the paint to the canvas by biting down hard on the baster bulb. (Author’s note: Mierda de Toro does not have much of a sense of humor so DO NOT refer to him as a master baster. Trust me. I know.)

Mierda de Toro’s work has sometimes been controversial, such as his infamous Chihuahua Project. His plan was to  put Chihuahuas of all shapes and sizes into a room covered with canvas from floor to ceiling and then dump paint on the dogs so they could create an abstract painting by shaking and rolling around like dogs do when then they get all wet. But after protests by animal rights activists, his public commission for the project was rescinded.

Mierda de Toro’s next frontier is large-scale public art. He received a commission to paint a mural on the wall of a government office building in Madrid. He will execute the project by first having his assistants set up dozens of large vats of paint on the roof’s edge at the top of the wall. Then Mierda de Toro will be lowered by a rope in his wheelchair from a helicopter and swung like a wrecking ball until he personally knocks over each vat and all the paint spills down the wall.

Thanks to the fiery young Alejandro Mierda de Toro, soon the public perception of crippled artists will never be the same. Everybody will picture a cripple in a wheelchair biting a baster bulb or dangling from a helicopter.