Luzi Guzi AKA Trash Bird
Our character is Luzi Guzi, also known as Trash Bird. He lives in a landfill with a family of other birds, but acts nothing like them. His brain is wired to create incessantly, trying to interpret the world around him with a tragically small brain. His story could end here. He could toil endlessly in the trash dump until he’s sandwiched between a filing cabinet and a washing machine. Instead, two belligerent humans had to stumble along and disrupt the bird’s natural art-life cycle. His work is stolen, exploited and eventually plastered all over American pop culture with the brand name Luzi Guzi. Naturally, our Trash Bird never receives any kind of recognition or compensation. Being a small bird living in a landfill, his life moves on, just like the rest of the world.
Aesthetically, Robert and I have very different styles. These were our selected works, keeping in mind which ones might work the best together. They influenced the feeling of the piece a lot, especially the crumpled nature of my drawings look like some garbage in a landfill and Robert actually was already drawing bird figures in bridge 1.
My selected pieces:
Robert’s selected pieces:
The bird’s story begins with a mini armageddon. The dump. He was raised by a family of normal, garbage dump birds. By way of chance, this bird was born with the innate ability to draw. Instinctually since he was a chick, there was some kind of writing utensil in his beak. While the other birds in his family remained focused on the litany of daily tasks and survival methods, this bird was simply too occupied with his creations. He was born illiterate and does not speak to any of the other trash birds in the dump. Some think its just his nervousness, but in reality, this bird was simply too concentrated. They misunderstood. This bird sees the chaos of the human virus from the perspective of living in their garbage footprint. Every day he is on this planet, he is sent into a state of shock.Instead of paralyzing in the face of insanity, the bird decided to draw. Although he takes his job very seriously, the nature of his work is always goofy. Humans never give bird brains enough credit.
This bird in particular is using up all the space in his cranium to try and comprehend the human condition, with drawing as his only language. As he grew up and continued to expand his body of work, his community noticed his insanity. They noticed he was creating entire worlds for himself out of his drawings. The rest of the landfill birds had no clue how to react, so he continued to toil with a dying sharpie in his beak. His spontaneous creations stack up in huge piles among the trash dump. This astounded the other birds, but there was also some contempt for the bird. He never followed any of the survival routines. This bothered the other birds because of all the extra labor they had to perform just to keep another bird alive that didn’t work daily for their own survival. Although this gifted trash bird had an incredible artistic response to the world, it took up all the space in his brain. There was little space for any of his survival instincts. Naturally, he was not bothered by this. He sat on the top of the landfill daily with his sketches scattered among the trash. Always in isolation from the rest of the birds, he works all hours of the day. All of the drawings are stuck in and under pieces of trash from the very world he is trying to understand. From sunrise to sunset, he draws on anything that he can find. From the backs of thrown out homework assignments to computers and shoes, he doesn’t care if the drawings are even visible. Ignorant to his surroundings, he dedicates all of his focus to his drawings.
On a particularly normal day, the trash bird finds himself working again atop the landfill. Where the shapes of trash become a jagged horizon, there were tall figures stumbling towards him. Their loud calls and cries echoed through the mountains of trash. As they got taller and more detailed, he still could not make out what they were saying. Terrified by the sight of the monsters, he hid in a washer closed himself in, peering out of the foggy glass. He watched bewildered as the two men began to run around in circles and steal some of his drawings and scamper away from the scene. The bird, wide-eyed and cautious, walks out of the washing machine and watches the silhouettes of the two men dissolve into the jagged horizon.
5 minutes pass and the bird is back to drawing. 5 days pass and he forgets about the entire experience. 5 weeks pass and he notices something. He sees one his drawing among the trash, which is no surprise. But this one seems different. Although he is only a bird, he knows the difference between his beat up drawings and what he sees on the page in front of him. It’s definitely his own work, but contorted and seems to be actually on the fabric of the shirt on the page. Slowly, or as quickly as a small brain bird can process, he realizes what those men did with his drawings. They embedded his work into the cultural wasteland that perplexes and confuses him so much. A jacket with a picture of his work. On the back, bedazzled with plastic diamonds, there are the worlds Luzi Guzi. The bird has no clue what that might mean. 5 minutes pass and the bird is back to drawing. 5 days pass and he forgets about the entire experience. The world moves on as he moves through it.
“Wow… take a gander at these here pictures…” The first mook whispered to his partner.
“Uhhh… well I sure see them,” the second mook said reticently, “But they kinda look like a tyke’s doodles. I don’t really see da appeal.”
“No no no no, you don’t have an eye for art my friend, and you’re holding it upside down!” the first retorted. “You slap dis on a shirt, you call it something provocative, like Luzi Guzi, those hipster geeks will eat this up, easy money!”
“But… these drawings? You really think that people would buy this? I mean… I bet that I could draw better than this. That bird over there could draw better than this.”
The Bird over there could not understand what the two men were saying, but if he could, he would most likely be incredibly insulted. That bird over there? I am THE bird over here of this dump! Or something like that, bird thoughts are very small and hard to read. This water bottle-sized, one pound grey bird sits patiently by himself among the heaps of debris towering above him. Protruding out from his scruffy and scratched beak, he clutches a dying sharpie, quickly making nervous hatch marks to get every drop of ink out. He has to use his whole body to get a decent pen stroke in.
Although this bird doesn’t understand language, he is a witness to a great commotion. The violence, the loneliness, the evil, the good, the blissful, and the unknown. The big grey structures that poke through the sky, and the big metal animals that prowl the concrete jungles. The colorfully clothed people who hustle and bustle 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Their palpable hatred for each other, like a virus in a host taking control of its body. Whatever the bird can see, it seeks to learn and express. Although he is just a small scruffy bird and the world is a gargantuan, fast paced machine that would have no problem flattening a small bird like himself. Whether it is stupidity or bravery, this landfill bird approaches to understand the world with a smooth small brain and one dying sharpie.
“Listen, I just want to get out of here man. It smells like a dump in here!” The first man complained.
“It is a dump here you cretin. We’re in a landfill!”
“Well, it sure smells the part. Anyways, let’s split. Maybe we can sell dese drawings to some boujee fashion company. I’m tired of trying to pawn off dese “vapor cigarettes” to saps on the streets. No one will ever buy these things.”
“I agree,” the second man complains, “In this current year of 1997, it is quite unimaginable to think that vapor cigarettes will become popular in about 20 years. Anyways if this stunt doesn’t work, we might have to do the unthinkable…”
“What, admit that going to art school was a poor use of our money and time?”
“Huh? No. We might have to join… The 9-5 Workforce.”
The second man shrieked, “Yikes. With a capital Y. Let’s get outta here. Stuff as many of these drawings as you can in your pocket and scram.”
The two slouching men began to snatch the drawings out from under the bird with the ease of pushing a small paperweight with legs out of the way. Giddy and without trepidation, the two men scrambled out of the landfill with pockets stuffed full of the bird’s drawings. They are determined to live out the American Dream; making an assload of cash off someone else’s ideas. Of course all of this; the money making, the scheming, and the fashion was totally beyond the bird. All he knew was how to create these sketches. They are his language and his dialogue with the world, his link between what the humans have done and his perception of their destructive path. Of course, the bird actually thinks about none of this. All he knows is he was quite unhappy that these two humans had taken his pictures that he had worked so hard on away from him.
This did not phase the bird though. He picked up his marker and went right back to work, converting the world into small doodles with an increasingly dry and squeaky sharpie. It doesn’t matter if the two men went on to sell the bird’s drawings on t- shirts starting at 75 dollars a piece because of course they did. None of those details mattered to the bird. When those men took his drawings, he had no qualms starting all over again from scratch. These drawings are an extension of his perception to help him try and comprehend this cryptic and hypocritical world that the humans have formed. Living amongst the disposed pieces of human life, the bird fits these puzzle pieces together, but none of them seem to quite fit. The confused, scrappy grey bird continues to draw himself into new comprehensions. All his creations are instinctual and rooted in the joy of making. Everything else that the humans hold so dear doesn’t even register in the bird’s brain.
Dear reader, I wish I could tell you that the two scoundrels didn’t make a cent off the stolen drawings. But unfortunately, we live in a society in which a poor avian artist struggling to make ends meet and do what he loves doesn’t get the credit for what he does. The bird’s work was immediately snatched up by the biggest fashion label in the city. The two men were rich!
I’m sure that there’s some moral arch to preach, but it was lost on the bird, who continued on, doing what he loved.
As these stories always seem to go, the bird who put so much of his body and effort into these creations got no credit. There was no invoice from a fashion label for a small grey trash bird. Maybe once our bird dies and fades away from the earth, the humans will finally give credit to the artist because it is much safer to praise the talent of an artist that doesn’t need to survive. The drawings the bird joyfully made was a reaction to attempting to understand this volatile world. Sometimes, that is all we can ever do.
- I think my experiences in both Studio and Seminar inform each other because they coerced me to think about the collaborative character’s story from different perspectives and different mediums, which eventually manifested itself into a more full-bodied story.
- I discovered that my work is largely flexible and malleable to the ideas of others due to the abstract nature of a lot of my visual work.
- My intention for the final story was to capture the spirit of the unbothered creator. I think I was able to get at that intention, even with a bird character because of the surreal nature of our final writing pieces. I feel that collaboration augmented my intention because I felt that I had no good character names/ ideas. Once Robert decided on a character, it was easy for me to color him in.
- I think the biggest risk I took with this project was starting the assignment with no clue of how I wanted to present our work. Usually with projects like this, I prefer to lay out the scaffolding lines or a boundary line of how I want the art piece to look or act.
- I would like to improve as a collaborator with a better and more open line of communication and to clearly explain how the work will be divided.