Artwork / 2004 / Gwenn Monkey

painted self-portrait
Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Monkey
acrylic on canvas
19 x 13 inches

I created this self-portrait for the Trickster Project, a series in collaboration with a theater piece called Trickster Tells This Story. I was pleased to be on both ends of the collaboration, acting as well as painting.

While doing character research for my Asian Monkey character and for the painting I would create of myself as a monkey, I discovered that the Chinese conception of those born in the year of the monkey is that they are erratic geniuses. Intelligent, skillful, flexible, they are remarkably inventive, original, and well-liked by all. I was clearly spending too much time in the theater, because, as I learned these things about those born in the year of the monkey, I came to identify entirely with the description—who wouldn’t?—and consequently forgot that I was born in the year of the rooster.

Those born in the year of the rooster are proud and colorful show-offs who work hard and are extremely stubborn. Indeed. How very telling. Well, at least David was born in the year of the rooster as well!