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Flora, Fauna, Persona
the art & writing of Desirée Isphording
Of Keys and Riddles 
14th-Jul-2008 06:17 pm

This creature appeared in the margins of a notebook some time ago and decided he wanted to make his way into a more refined piece. I began this picture last year, and I nearly forgot about him until rediscovering him tucked into a pad of drawing paper after moving into my first apartment, which seems entirely fitting. He seems to delight in obscurity and even now after completing the piece, I cannot say I know a great deal more about him that when he first appeared as a simple pen sketch.

What I do know is this: He possesses keys to all the doors that ever were (and never were), including those subtle, metaphysical ones. His collection includes keys to rooms in buildings which have been demolished decades ago, keys to rusty vehicles moldering on the junk heap, keys to gates that no longer guard anything at all, and tiny keys to diaries whose pages have long since been torn out and burned away. No door, no portal is ever truly gone, he tells me.

In this image, his fingers originally grazed the key to the doorway between life and death, but we thought the depiction was a bit too literal. Now, petals from the flower of the Dogwood tree (Cornus florida) dance before his grasp. Evidently each petal represents one of his profound riddles - he reminds me that not all keys can be held.

Media: Prismacolor colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic, sumi ink, ink, collage (for the dogwood petals and flower)
14th-Jul-2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
That is absolutely, stunningly beautiful!
15th-Jul-2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you kindly.
15th-Jul-2008 02:12 am (UTC)
That one really resonates with me. Lovely work.
15th-Jul-2008 06:08 am (UTC)
This image stopped me in my mental tracks, and your description left me with a shiver in my spine. Thank you, for here is a figure who will not quickly be leaving my mind...
21st-Jul-2008 12:28 am (UTC)
Thank you so much.
17th-Jul-2008 06:08 am (UTC)
Wow. This is a really great image, and the ideas you've captured with it (and your words here) have stirred my brain along pleasantly pondering paths.

It seems profoundly significant that he first appeared to you just after moving into your first apartment...
21st-Jul-2008 12:34 am (UTC)
He actually appeared in sketch form prior to moving into my first apartment, but I only rediscovered the partially finished piece after moving in. It is very suitable that I was only able to finish him after I moved though. I think he was waiting for an opportune time.

My current home is in an old brick Victorian with doors which I believe date to the original period of the building (before it was converted to apartments), these doors feature the old style keyholes like the one representing his third eye.
21st-Jul-2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
The story of his appearance is full of meaning...

And strangely enough, our homes sound like they have much in common. I live in an old chapel build circa 1840 that also has the original doors (and a keyhole of the same shape!). Our housekey looks very much like the key piercing the figure's right ear.
21st-Jul-2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
(well, not piercing exactly- rather passing just behind the nick.)
26th-Jul-2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
Most of the keys in his "halo" are based off on keys in my personal collection (I love old, rusty keys especially the quintessential skeleton key types) as well as keys which I use on a regular basis. The keys to my car and apartment have their corresponding forms in his halo :)

I live right near what is now a restaurant but at one time it was a private residence that president George Washington visited, which would mean it would have to date to at least the late 1700's. I don't think my building is quite that old, but you never know!
25th-Jul-2008 07:56 am (UTC) - I am enraptured
I found your journal while following links and what a serendipitous find! This is simply lovely... I love the ears. And the story to go with it gives it so much more meaning. I am so glad I found this. It has made a very stressful night more peaceful.
26th-Jul-2008 07:02 pm (UTC) - Re: I am enraptured
Thank you very much :)
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