Drunk Jesus Calendar

 

Jesus in a deep alcoholic, meditative bliss. Drunk on wine. A visionary calendar emerges showing the various events throughout the year on the vineyard and in the winery: the wine-maker’s calendar. The phases of the moon surround the calendar, from new moon to the full moon behind J’s head. The moons are also grayscale “eyes” of concentric rings that have the same four-step grayscale as the rainbows that emerge from the black sun in the center of the calendar and diamond pattern border. This, to me, is an attempt to show the power of the grayscale, my devotion to it as an artist, and that it is an important part to understanding my work. The crosses throughout the image are raptor perches used by growers to attract predatory birds who kill the small creatures like gophers and other rodents that threaten the growing vines and ripening fruit – the bird on the upper left cross is a kestrel. The starling on the post with the barbed-wire is a sign that the fruit is ripe – because they show up when the fruit is sweet. The text emanating from J’s heart gives a name to those stages of grape-growing and wine-making (Prune, Plough, Protect, Ripen, Harvest, Crush, Ferment, Punch, Barrel, Taste, Bottle, Rest). They are listed in sequential, cyclical order as they occur around the year. “Rest” is pointing up at J’s head because he is resting. The text behind J is from Meister Eckhart (13th century German mystic) and reads, "There is something that enlivens us when joined with our body” but is here meant to refer to wine as the “spirit” that which enlivens us instead of the holy spirit.

As with all of my drawings, I am interested in the origin of symbols, myths, beliefs, etc.,. The effects of alcohol (in this case, psychedelics in others) combined within a belief system that uses altered states of consciousness can confirm those beliefs: Drink this and you will feel the spirit possess you. This is the awakening and the beginning of the transformation of the mundane world into the sacred. A raptor perch becomes a holy cross. The sheep used to mow the grass between vines become personifications of a deity. The hope that fruit is born from labor becomes submerged in gospel.

This drawing came about through a variety of accidental encounters. The ‘robe’ Jesus is wearing was a gift, a blanket that a former student’s mother made and that he gave to me. The cross perches I saw at a vineyard in Ballard and who make wine called La Croce. Some of the elements in the background and the calendar vignettes are from photographs I took while traveling and visiting vineyards and wineries, others are from books on wine. The datura in the lower left corner appears in many of my drawing and is a reminder of the native psychoactive weeds and it’s importance to me.

 

E.A.B. 9/29/10