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The Grubbly Man

'The Grubbly Man' (2019) is a video piece I made through my exploration of prehistoric Cave art. I wanted to reuse the imagery made by our ancestors and combine it with ideas of mythmaking and magic, which lead to the creation of the 'Grubbly Man' character. A prehistoric medicine man, dressed in a pelt cloak which is covered in cave art from across the globe, wearing his grubby fleshy power-enhancing mask, and carrying a ritualistic instrument adorned with donated and found hanging flesh. In the video, a wise 'Grubble' goes about his life, meandering through the woods he lives in. The piece features a homemade mask, cloak, and sculptural piece. 


The Mask is made from sponge, foam, tissue, and acrylic paint

image of cloak


The cloak was dyed with Tea and Coffee to give it the colour of old skins, the dying process means that it also now smells really old and musty. I then drew on the fabric with charcoal and chalk pastels, copying images of cave paintings that have been found across the globe, and tried to cram in as many as I could. I then used black, brown, and red thread to stitch over some of the drawings, ruche the fabric in areas, and stitch the sections back together (as the fabric had to be cut up at first in order for it to fit in my saucepan for the dying process), doing this gave the coak texture, and made it more interesting and realistic to what I imagine the medicine man character would look like. Finally, I used black ink to draw outlines of pelts onto the cloak, this familiar shape made it look more natural when wearing it. 


The ritualistic instrument is made from sticks and string, and the flesh hangings are made of sponge covered in foundation and chalk pastels.


Looking into cave art is so interesting, you will notice on 'The Grubbly Man' cloak, the variation of colours and patterns drawn onto it. Cave art across the world, despite its similarities, is so varied due to the pigments they had access to, the animals living around them, and other cultural or environmental differences. For example, in Europe you will find charcoal sketches, in North America they used blue pigments and circular patterned designs, in Australia they made heavily patterned designs using reds and oranges, and in South America they chiselled into rocks as opposed to drawing on them. There are so many more differences, and these are just brief observations, there's so much more to explore when it comes to prehistoric art. It is truly fascinating how different groups of people documented their lives around the same time. 

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