With collage 18, “Wrong Way Whales”, we move from the miniatures to one of the largest Boos works, this being 2180 x 1720 pixels. I’ve returned to Google Maps Streetview images for a base, with the setting just off Highway 367 about a mile south of Tungaske. This highway will turn into Pacific Avenue at the town limits, so — interesting — we stay on the same street as the two collages before it (“Pacific Won” and “Pacific Too”). Coming into Tungaske from this direction, we pass to our left several very intriguing metal sculptures. From south to north, we have a more vertical, abstract sculpture, then the whale seen in collage 18 (from several viewpoints), and then a stylized bison to end the stretch. For “Wrong Way Whales”, I simply cut and then pasted together four views of the whale from Streetview as we travel by it heading toward Tungaske. The sculptures were created as a part of an art symposium held in the town during 2010, with one of the participating artists being the woman who lives in the house featured in collage 11.
In the collage, I’ve added an extra picture of the whale sculpture culled from the Large Canadian Roadside Attractions site. It faces the opposite direction from the others, but the title of the piece, “Wrong Way Whales”, indicates that it and it alone faces the “correct” way, which is back toward Tungaske itself. But if all these whales are actually the one whale seen in time, then this whale seems to have merely made a u-turn in the field, perhaps after a rethink. I believe the piece implies the trickling exodus from the town, which has gradually dwindled in size since the 1960s. Perhaps *art* and its creators can revive Tungaske to former levels, like with the works and ideas generated from this 2010 symposium.
We also see in the collage the giant shoe found in collage 14, “The Unloading of Bigfoot”. Here it is flying through the sky atop a labyrinth that actually exists in a park on the south side of Tungaske. So I’m kind of trying to be true to the town layout in my works. My guess is that the action of “Wrong Way Whales” comes slightly before that of “The Unloading of Bigfoot”, which depicts the giant shoe landing on the south side of town and unloading its contents (which includes another sculpture called “3 Birds”). Perhaps the whales are then exiting the town only to turn around when seeing or hearing about the attack of the Boos from collage 13. Tungaske is in eminent danger of extinction, with only the dead to rule. Art can save.
We come into Tungaske from the opposite direction in the next collage, or from the north. We’re still on Highway 367, which, by the way, will again turn into Pacific Avenue after we cross the city limits just ahead. This work is called “I Must Be Going. Hello!”, implying another turnabout or rethink. And the welcome sign for the village in the base photo I used has been transformed into its opposite as well. Tungaske and its cemetery have become the same here. Who will save the village? Well, a lot of characters have turned up to help in this one. From left to right, we have 12 Oz Mouse’s Fitz, 12 Oz Mouse’s Peanut, the Insanoflex from “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters”, the 3 costumed members of the band Story Room, Unboxed Boss Moss, a grey seal, Hucka Doobie in doll form (you have to look hard for this one), Elton John from the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album cover, psychedelically garbed Ray Davies of The Kinks, a floating dead man covered in a red cloth, red caped Superman standing in Winnie the Pooh’s honey wagon, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and then Lisa Simpson looking over the top of a color inverted torso of Fitz, and you can also see his inverted beer bottle sticking out from behind her head. A menagerie, then. Why have they gathered here around the town’s altered sign? Is the reason really to save it? Let’s take a closer look…
(to be continued)