edwin ushiro! ghost story teller! collage-maker! artistic genius!
o h m i go o d n e s s. sometimes i find artworks that cause my jaw to just fall right off my head, and here’s one of them. PLUS, it’s here, in person, in my city until saturday. can we say lucky?! i can’t wait to see this thing.
anyways, mr. ushiro made this. i can’t find many details on HOW he made this – it’s some magical combination of painting and collage – but i’ll let you know what i find when i see it in person this weekend. and yes, it’s beautiful to look at. but know what’s better than that? it comes with its own ghost story. a HAWAIIAN ghost story, which is somehow twelve times spookier. (when i get there in december i wanna hear as many ghost stories as possible, preferably from very old wrinkled hawaiian folks.)
Old timers will tell you that you should never respond to someone who calls out your name when it is addressed to your back. Also, never answer a stranger when they use your name to approach it. Hawaiian mythology tells us that these are Calling Spirits – a disembodied entity that will call out to you, aggressively luring you to step towards themso they may take your soul.
When cowboys ran the hillside of old Hawaii, a young man on his way home before dusk heard his name being called. A girl emerged from the foliage. She expressed a desire to make love to him if he followed her into the woods. The young man followed. With excitement, he abruptly hesitated after being overwhelmed by an uneasy feeling. The young man explained to the girl that he changed his mind and decided to return home. The girl grew angry. She screamed out of frustration. The young man fled.
Upon returning home, he divulged this strange encounter to his Grandfather. His Grandfather scolded him, explaining that a Hawaiian does not talk to your back – it’s not polite – and strangers do not know your name unless they are Calling Spirits.
The next day the young man, accompanied by his Grandfather returned to the site of this encounter. Following the trail the girl urged him to take, they discovered a 20 ft deep lava pit that was concealed by vines.