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Rusty John Lemon Snare: Melancholy, Mystery, and Magick

A Parallel Planets piece by Jacintha Yap

Parallel Planets presents Rusty John Lemon Snare
in Melancholy, Mystery and Magick for Sale 
Story by Jacintha Yap

Mentioned: Artistic persona, magic and magick, and cosmic carnival

* * *

Magic refers to stage magic, while Magick dwells into the realms of rituals and practices. As said by Aleister Crowley, Magick is the science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the art of applying that understanding in action.

It was the first thing I encountered in the world of Rusty John Lemon Snare. Like a sign that decorated a door, I imagined it slightly crooked but very welcoming. Beyond the alliteration that already had me intrigued and amused, I was also very drawn to the coming together of melancholy, mystery and magick— all equally enigmatic and mystical in their own ways.

Is Rusty John Lemon Snare a peddler who trades in the phantom craft of intangibles? Is she also as phantom and enigmatic as the wares she sells?

As the artistic persona of Salty (or Xi Jie), she too is intangible, existing in the speech, dreams, fiction and drawings. Through Rusty John Lemon Snare, Salty manages to "pocket melancholy and mediate on the magical, allowing her viewers to step into a veiled world past lives and comets."

Seeing her works, I feel slightly perturbed. Her subjects tower over you with their long limbs and arms, inviting you to their world which is like the artist’s mind: a circus of mystery. Her works contain melancholic yet dark theatrical elements that cannot be shrugged off easily. It leaves an impression. There is a certain kind of magic that breathes through her works. I can almost imagine each stroke moving to its own hymn, much like Frankenstein’s awakening.

In Cosmic Tarot, Rusty's distinct humanoids take on the roles of the seven distinct tarot cards. Interestingly, there is thought to be much magick imbued in the act of divination — a subtle force that decides destiny, fate or the ephemeral present. How apt it is then for a peddler who trades in magick to be represented in a set of tarot cards?

Another reoccurring motif that caught my attention apart from the three Ms is the closed or covered eyes. The figures that appear out of Rusty's landscape do not gaze or glance back. They exist in realms outside of my direct contact, in a world that I had accidentally stumbled onto when I turned the doorknob and let myself in.

I recalled a comment about eyes in paintings and how they will follow you. Stories of how the viewer remained (sometimes pitifully) in the dead watch of the paintings even when they are away from their line of sight. However, despite the absence of a gaze in Rusty's works, I still feel the heat of a stare, almost as though I am imagining how the subjects’ eyes would look behind the eigengrau of my eyes.

Space is a thread that continuously appears in Rusty’s works, and in Sunday Dream, space becomes the backdrop for a love story, lovingly captured in a zine. As mentioned by the artist, "It is a short fizzy tale of love in cosmic layers, beginning in a sloshy ancient bathtub one Sunday afternoon. Listening to records, the protagonist, Dolores escapes through a gramophone and traipses through the cosmos with her love, melting and becoming in alternate universes." It speaks to the romantic and escapist in me and I believe, in most of us who ache for star–crossed lovers and alternate universes.

Rusty John Lemon Snare’s works is a cosmic carnival of sorts — theatricality and cosmology dance with each other and welcome magick in their arms.

And the carnival is always open. You just need to turn the doorknob.

More from Rusty John Lemon Snare: WebsiteSociety6


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