I think that was kind of the inspiration behind this piece which my husband, who runs an art supply shop, commissioned me to make last March. I was fortunate enough to be gifted this road-kill racoon and when I told him what I had on my hands, he practically begged for me to make something special for him out of the specimen. How could I refuse, really? This man supported me all through school and has never once complained about sharing his home and his wife with my little army of fantasy creatures. Creating a custom piece for this bastion of open-mindedness and support is really the least I can do.
Then he told me he wanted the racoon to be making a getaway with a money bag and I inwardly groaned.
How corny! For some reason, cartoon characters, specifically the silly ones from the Warner Brothers stables, have always made me squirm. Even as a child I found them intolerable. It’s a disdain I can’t quite put my finger on, seeing as I can be a very silly person. I suppose if I were to dig deep and play armchair psychologist for myself I’d say there is a particular stupidity to it all that most people find humorous but I don’t because I fear the stupidity in myself.
I put my own opinion aside, however, and as I worked on Mr. Racoon I began to warm up to the idea of him being a thief. The theme of raccoons as bandits is popular lore in many cultures and I found this interesting account of some Japanese Racoon dogs in the movie Pom Poko, which portrays them as mischievous little scamps.
He’s hanging by one paw to the wall, and I gave him a hint of a smile with slightly upturned lips. I sewed a bag from off-white canvas and made a $ stencil to paint the iconic symbol on said sack. It was then filled with bottle caps, sewn shut and attached to Racoon’s other front paw.
Here’s a more pensive looking shot:
This was my first independent mount after finishing school and I can see how I might have done things differently had I been approached with this project today. Overall though, I’m pleased, and so was my husband when he received his Christmas Racoon!