There are so many different stories of how the Hindu god Ganesha got his elephant head. The one that stuck with me, told to me by a friend named for him, was about how when Ganesha was born, questions of Shiva's paternity arose, and out of anger and jealousy, he lopped off the boy's head and replaced it with an elephant's head. At least, that's what I got out of the story.
But in most of the stories, there's nothing told about the original head. And I know you can't just chop off a god's head and be done with it. Being just a baby, that kind of alienation can be deadly. Whatever soul that was severed with the head must have rotted from that cast-off. So this is my homage to the abandoned infant.
I started with some bits I had lying around. Some random beads, and plastics, a tin lid, a canvas box, and a doll's head with a missing eye. I administered my childhood profession of dollie-lobotomy and let out its brain (and by that I mean spray-foam'd his noggin). I also slit the mouth open in case I wanted to put something in there later. I had a little cocktail umbrella coming out of the foam for a little while (you can see it in the background- that pink thing), but I decided against it when I decided to take the theme in a darker direction.
Things I learned at this point: When attaching the beads to the rim, don't attach the centerpiece yet, but turn it over and then do your gluing. The beads won't slip if they have a solid surface to lean on while the glue dries. And while it's turned over, you can attach any legs you want to the bottom.
When the foam dried (and even started peaking out of little openings like, behind the eye, out the mouth, and a little spot at the base of the neck), I carved it down (actual carving didn't achieve the look I was going for, so I just ripped into it with my nails). Then I adorned the crap out of the whole thing. Some baroque ornaments, beads and bead caps, some random metal and plastic bits, lots of nails, and shoved some loose chains into its mouth.
Lessons learned here: Just because it's stuck in there now, doesn't mean it'll stay there, and it should still be secured with glue (this doesn't apply as much when it's been devoured by still-growing foam).
The adorning process took some time. I stepped away and then back again a few times to keep my perspective fresh. When I finally finished putting the pieces together, I painted all the crevices black so they wouldn't show up under the next coat of paint.
When the black dried, I coated the whole thing in a dark red, then brushed the raised bits with a lighter red. Then after that dried, I coated most of the head in a bluish purplish colour, then let it sit for a little bit. Decided the chains should be more prominently coming out the mouth, so I trailed the purple all the way down the front. Then let it sit for a couple more days while I worked on a different piece. When I came back, I decided it needed a deeper blue 'round the top. So I painted half the face, and some of the raised bits, like the filigree accents and the bead caps.
And that's about it. This is how I got to the image you see at the beginning of this post, full of metal fire, and rage coming from being unwanted at birth.