Looking back, The Mermaid Project began at the crossroads of happy circumstance. Soon after I was gifted with a Victorian looking water tank, a former stage prop, I was contacted by a talented aerialist-contortionist friend. She was looking to settle a small photo usage debt by the previously agreed upon means of modeling. I had a water tank and a professional artist athlete: what else was there for it but a mermaid? Fortune continued to smile alongside the less comfortable guidance of challenges and difficulties, and The Mermaid Project: Chapter One, Confinement was born. The series featuring a drowned suitor in the tank was first. When my friend said he’d like to get in the tank with the beautiful mermaid, there was only one possibility. Go back to the old myths: the men who mess with the mermaids, generally, wind up dead. Wise Odysseus knew that and tied himself to the mast. Not so, our carnival barker. Of course, the mermaid gets the jewels.
As I have shared the mermaids, I find that almost everyone has strong and thoughtful reactions to them. Some look back, wondering how these mermaids got here. Other look forward, wondering if they will be stuck for long, perhaps understanding that this can’t go well. Some wonder how anyone could want to keep the mermaids confined, and still others dream of an escape from our human realm and into the watery world of mermaids. There have long been mermaids, for millennia, at least. I hope mine generate more tales, more questions, more dreams.
The series was inspiring to work on for so many reasons. Myth, costume, technical challenges, story telling: these are the things that drove me through some very challenging sessions. The models are, for the most part, regular people, non-performers, known to me or recruited upon meeting: an illustrator, an editor, a stay at home mother, a couple of writers, a shop keeper, a student. The tails are all hand made by me and a colleague. I bought every strand of thrift store pearls that I could find for at least a year. My talented models brought pieces to add and created wonderful make up effects. The mysterious images that came of these crazy shoots were worth all the effort. I hope to do more. Chapter 2 is under way. Those mermaids are in the wild.
All the Mermaid Project images are available for purchase on either metallic canvas or metal. Please contact me for prices and information.