What's an Eyebutt?
An Eyebutt is what it's name suggests, an EYE and a BUTT with skinny arms and legs enclosed by two large lips. I created the Eyebutts in 1989 at UC Davis. I was a sophomore art major innocently making art not knowing where my imagination would take me. Well, I took the idea of creating an eyeball set atop skinny muscular legs with high top shoes. A character had evolved but it needed more and so for my next drawing I created something much closer to its current counterpart though not as cute and welcoming. It was in 1994-95 that the next stage of Eyebutt "evolution" would take place in Boston University while I was pursuing my Masters degree in painting. It was during my second year in grad school that I realized I needed to revisit the Eyebutts . My passion to pursue this subject was fueled by my desire to laugh and the Eyebutts did just that, they "cracked' me up, along with my professors and many of my colleagues. Somehow, the Eyebutts had a purpose, to make people laugh with a blend of quirky innocence.
After grad school, I knew that I had to continue to build my Eyebutt world and so more paintings were produced in the mid and late 90's. During this 3rd stage, the anatomy and overall look of the Eyebutt was solidified. Everything was considered especially the torso and how the lips, eye and butt all visually worked together along with the way the arms and legs were attached. In addition, the level of realism was further refined especially subtleties in joints, skin texture and color.
I reached a point when I had a respectful amount of work that I decided to print several paintings on postcards, prints and t-shirts. Though my initial marketing strategies were unsuccessful, the limited exposure provided valuable feedback to further develop my character. One comment that had great impact was the comment that the Eyebutt's nakedness was inappropriate. I was shocked to hear that a creature with a butt shaped like a peach would come across that way but I took this comment as valid considering that I wanted to introduce the Eyebutts to a wide audience of many ages. And so I made a big decision to clothe the Eyebutts. It was a risk because I thought that adding clothes would take away from the character. In the long run, it did the opposite. Clothes gave each Eyebutt character it's own personality and it also opened a wider audience. Eyebutt fashion was here to stay! Naked Eyebutts didn't disappear from my Eyebutt world though, they became part of the evolving storyline in which they are part of the "BC" era or Before Clothes historical timeline.
So that's a description of how the visual look evolved with many influences along the way attributed to Savador Dalis' surrealistic style, cartoonist Gary Larson's humor and illustrator, Norman Rockwell's welcoming storytelling and realism. As implied, through the making of many Eyebutt works, a story has evolved and for that I give C.S. Lewis, creator of Narnia, the credit for inspiring me to create a story that incorporates the quirkiness of the Eyebutt with the depth of a message that touches the essence of humanities' purpose in the world. Yes, the Eyebutts actually have a meaningful story to tell. At face value, my audience, innocently reacts to what the Eyebutt looks like and how it makes them feel, having little clue that my intention is to take them through a journey that you never thought an Eyebutt could take you to.
TO BE CONTINUED