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Night Moves

My portrait subject is a raccoon visitor who over the summer has been coming to my window late at night, who I am fascinated and delighted by. I was bitten by a raccoon when I was 3 years old and have had an affinity for these “outlaw” animals ever since. My earliest memory is the SPCA coming to round them up in cages to test for rabies so I wouldn't have to get the hellacious shots. So yeah, maybe I identify with them. I think they're crazy outlaw biker animals, & they don't give a care. I love the idea that wild animals roam the urban environment and are somehow able to carve out an existence here despite the dominance of humankind, we somehow can’t completely excommunicate these creatures. They are seen as pests but are really quite fascinating (not to mention cute).

When I began documenting my raccoon visitor to my Facebook wall, a friend of mine posted a video of internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose throwing a raccoon that had attacked his dog down a stairweli.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/kevin-rose-digg-raccoon_n_3635093.html

Even though I know he was reacting in the moment out of concern for his beloved pet, the situation also made me think about what it is to be an outlaw, or unwanted by the dominant society. I asked myself, what was the actual difference between Kevin’s dog that was worthy of protection, and this wild animal that was trying to find it’s own way, too? More importantly, why was this violence against a living thing, justified or not, now being used as internet entertainment? What is it about the mediated spectacle of the real (the looping animated .gif is almost a work of art in it’s strangeness) that causes us to dismiss or forget that suffering of any kind isn’t really funny?

I want to make a piece that could serve as a reminder that it’s good to be compassionate, even in the face of danger and fear. And that the built in mechanisms of judgement and one-sidedness in our society need to be questioned, and the dualities and complexities exposed and examined.

I’d like to create a portrait with not only my visitor, but other elements that are meaningful to a raccoon’s happiness and welfare.  How would the Raccoons be if we hadn’t completely over-run things, forcing them into another way of life? (mostly knocking over trash cans)? Mostly I want to commemorate my visitor before the wildlife control shows up and hauls his or her ass off to jail. 

If I like the result I may merchandize prints and t-shirts on Society 6, and have the profits go to a non-profit like Animal Solutions, who deal with animal control issues in a safe & humane way-who incidentally will be dealing with my friend here.  http://wildcaresolutions.com/category/raccoons/

I’d like to combine the portrait with type and other elements, framing the face in an emblematic/iconographic sort of way.

Taglines: 

SF OUTLAW  // NIGHT MOVES // “OHAI” (this is what I imaging he is saying to me when he comes to my window)

References: 

http://www.cracked.com/funny-3828-raccoons/

My Pinterest Board: 

http://pinterest.com/mixmasterdsr/raccoon-studies-for-skillshare-class/

Initial Sketches: 

Additional full length body view:

Plus one additional new concept which incorporates elements of the others:

The final B&W drawing which I will color

Final Color Version: 

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