‘Lost Souls, Sacred Hearts, Chromatic Erratics and a Pretty Face’ by Caia Koopman
I love wolves and I want to save them all. I love elephants and I want to save them all too. I want to set all the animals in captivity free. I live in this human centric world and I can’t stop thinking, how do we save all the animals? These are the lost souls in my work, and the sacred hearts. The lost soul of a monkey tortured in some medical experiment, his little beating heart so sacred to somebody.
Chromatic erratics are my paintings and really my only contribution to this crazy world. Not completely unlike an ancient glacier scattering it’s glacial erratics as it bulldozes its way through the landscape, crushing and grinding it down. I am more like a tiny ant, dispersing my chromatic erratics with a subtle yet heartfelt message about saving wolves, elephants, foxes, manta rays, and well, everything non-human. I wake up in the morning hoping no wolves were trapped in steal-jawed leg traps while I was sleeping, and wondering how many elephants have been butchered for their tusks just last night, and why humans are obsessed with being happy when that is such a head-in-the-sand concept. If ignorance is bliss, then are most happy humans guilty of wilful ignorance, avoiding most larger realities?
I wonder why I obsess about these things while others don’t seem to be bothered by them, and I wish I had a louder voice.
Oddly enough, I still love painting humans, and I don’t really paint animals as my central characters at all. I especially enjoy painting female faces; always trying to capture the elusive and subjective beauty in different ways. This is my challenge to myself: can I capture in paint that element which is like a drug to the human psyche, the mysterious aspect we find to be beautiful, the kind of beauty that makes you want to cry, or become transfixed, then will my audience next reward me with a moment of their time to listen to my message? Maybe they would then care about, or even think about, something I find important? What is it about a pretty face that so unfairly and shallowly stops us in our tracks? It’s rather silly actually, but it’s addictively fun to try to capture this in paint nonetheless.
I believe symbolism is also something we humans love to look for. The enjoyment people get from solving puzzles and finding secret messages is universal. We are curious by nature and easily bored, so finding secret messages, like solving puzzles, is kinda like crack.
In my recent mural ‘Where are all the F-ing Bees?!’, her tears have little skulls in them and yet her expression is quite pleasant: obviously not a menacing character. The skulls symbolize the especially-toxic-to-bees pesticides called neonics, and the girl is obliviously watering with them. Maybe it’s wilful ignorance, or maybe not, but just her presence is poisonous. Without intended malice she is killing all the bees. Sure, the chemical companies are the ‘Big Evil’ (not to mention the entire modern system at large: factory farming, big media, big finance, etc…), but we are letting them get away with it. Year after year. 20 years now of scientists screaming, all the bees are dying and it’s probably, most likely, and now certainly the pesticides. We now know it’s the neonicotinoids to be precise, but nothing has changed and the bees are still dying.
In my painting ‘Connected’ she is wrapped in a banner with the word ‘consanguineal’, meaning ‘related by blood’. We are all connected, all related by blood, our hearts all beat, being human does not make us more important than being of another species. This piece, like most of my work, is quite simply about being connected to everything.
If I was an evil dictator, I would find a way to make sure all the kids grew up feeling strong, confident and were highly educated, and they would be required to spend 3 years after college fighting for the good of the earth, helping animals, rehabilitating habitat, using their new environmental law degree to fight for justice for the earth. I might also have an army of hungry pterodactyls, just for my personal hobby of ‘sport hunting’ my favorite ‘worst offenders’, especially demagogues.