Snake a Day

Brandy Copley in Houston, Texas is creating a Snake a Day...

Why did you decide to do this project? In September I met and was inspired by the fantastic Noah Scalin, who spoke at a class I was attending for my job. I loved the idea of challenging myself to do something very different from my day job, as a creativity tool.  My project parameters: 1) The goal is Process, not Product. The plan is to spark my creativity, to let me see everyday things with fresh eyes, and to enjoy the act of creating something every day. Which means- 2) Some (most?) snakes will not be aesthetically pleasing works of art. In fact, they might stink. I don't care. (See parameter 1 above.) If I took something that never looked like a snake to me before, and I turned it into a snake, home run. So if it is longer than it is tall and has zero legs, I'm good. 3) There will be lots of found objects used. I don't intend to buy much stuff to make my snakes. In general in my life, I'm working to decrease my consumerism and increase my reusing and recycling. So, for example, I do lots of food snakes which will then be snacked on (as a vegetarian who likes cooking I've always got lots of yummy colorful food around). That's it. Just three parameters.

Why snakes? Well, they are pretty simple, geometry wise. I have zero art skills, and could never do something as complex as a skull, or say, a camel. Also, snakes, like skulls, come preloaded with meaning. They creep some people out at the zoo. Entire libraries have been written about their religious symbolism. Voldemort kept one as a pet, and Jim Morrison famously sang about one. But the deal clincher was Henri Rousseau's Snake Charmer. The first time I saw this painting at the d'Orsay (as a 19 year old student in Paris) I fell in love with her. She is Eve charming the serpent, the myth completely turned on its head, the morality tale subverted. She is sensual and frightening, mysterious and darkly alluring. (Here's a link to The Snake Charmer if you don't know it.)  Finally, since my project was inspired by Noah's creepy cool skulls I could hardly do butterflies or unicorns...

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? My project is having a huge positive influence.  First, it is giving me both permission and a reason to enjoy creativity.  I’m a big consumer and fan of art, music, writing and creativity, but I haven’t done anything creative myself since about 3rd grade.  Now I have a reason to play with my food, and modeling clay, and art glass, and Legos, and seashells, and sand, and whatever else I want to.

Second, the project has vastly increased my ability to be present in the moment- to actually see the world around me and not just race by while glued to my laptop or phone.  I’m now free to look at shapes and colors and possible snake making objects every place I go.  Third, I have had some great conversations with people because of the project.  Start making a giant seaweed snake at Dana Point, and the surfers start gathering and chatting with you….it is a great way to meet and chat with new people.  And I’ve learned how to run my little bog (new skill for me.)  Lastly- I guess it is teaching me to be brave.  I wasn’t going to post the snakes at first-as I said I am no artist- I was just going to keep them to myself.  But my coworkers have been so positive about my project that I am now willing to throw it out there.

See all of Brandy's snakes HERE.

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