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Arizona artists create Frankenstein interpretations at Scottsdale library

(Photo: KTAR/Kathy Cline)
LISTEN: Halloween is not over in Scottsdale

PHOENIX — If you are not ready for Halloween to be over, head over to Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library.

Twenty local artists have created their interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s famed “Frankenstein,” a 1818 novel about a scientist who finally creates life and is horrified when he does.

The artists used canvas paintings, tissue paper, even papier-mâché to give a sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, sometimes thoughtful glimpse of the world.

The Frankenstein-in-a-wheelchair piece is the one many children run to, said exhibit curator Wendy Raisanen.

“That piece is really meant to be kind of silly – and it’s sort of a commentary, too. [Artist Luster Kaboom] is just showing us Frankenstein as a cartoon figure of an old guy, who’s sort of grouchy and grumpy,” Raisanen said.

Another exhibit features local, self-taught artist Tom Deadstuff. His piece features a large body topped with a skull-like head, climbing out of what appears to be a coffin. There are wires arching over the top of the piece, with an electric plug on one side.

According to the small plaque at the exhibit, Deadstuff is asking, “When will we start to see that the constant attention and immediate self-gratification may be exactly what we don’t need?”

Raisanen said that reflection and interpretation of the modern world is exactly what the artists are doing.

“[1818 was] the year without a summer,” she said, referring to the year that Shelley’s novel was published. “Not everybody understood why there was no summer.

“It was a very scary time for a lot of people because they didn’t understand what was happening,” she added.

But Raisanen said 200 years later, we are also in a state of unknowingness.

“The climate, the political situation, how people get along with one another,” she said. “It’s an equally unusual time, I think.”

The exhibit is free and runs through Dec. 30. For more information and hours of library operation, click here.

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