Tote ’em to the backyard

Taxidermy gets kind of smelly sometimes, so every now and then I like to try some other project. Every time I throw tennis balls to Giles in the yard, I get a little bored and start aiming for the trees, trying to make the balls ricochet and making it harder for Giles. So one day I spray-painted a small target on one of the trees, thinking it might be fun to improve my aim and practice a skill while entertaining the dog at the same time.

The target kind of looked like an eyeball to me, and the next thing I know, this happened:

First Totem

Jon Totem

I liked it so much that I read the wikipedia article about totem poles, and was surprised to learn that the animal’s height position on the totem pole has nothing to do with the animal’s importance or ranking. The animals are supposed to tell a story, though. Another thing I learned is that there are very few totem poles over 100 year old, because traditionally you’re supposed to let the pole rot and return to the earth, not preserve it. And in the dense mists of the pacific northwest, it doesn’t take that long for a pole to rot away. I also liked the part about shame poles, which were totem poles carved and placed in a neighbor’s yard to shame them if they screwed you over in some way. Often the person being shamed in a shame pole is depicted as a frog. So armed with some inspiration and new knowledge about totem poles, I set about to make a better one.

Totem 3

Totem 1


Totem 4

Sure, it’s no Kayung totem pole of the Haida people, but this was my first attempt at using spray paint ever. I’ve always daydreamed about being a graffiti artist, but no doubt I would only be a toy.