As a drawing exercise and for inspiration whilst the piece was being created, I have several images on the theme of the burlesque act ‘Machete Bears All’. Have a look at some sketchbook scribbles:
The bears are dressed for entertainment – wearing human items is deemed cute but is at odds when worn by a wild animal. Perhaps lulling you into a false sense of security, the human aspects make it more familiar and therefore less of a threat.
For entertaining bear references, I thought of Baloo from the Jungle Book, Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh. All loveable characters defined by their either slightly clumsy, preoccupied by food and/or friendly demanors. Certainly a far cry from the wild animals they really are. I couldn’t have loveable bears without a pic-a-nic basket, a tin of salmon and a jar of honey.
Or indeed without an affable walk. Baloo is perfect for this so studied his gait in the disney Jungle Book clips on you tube. I can’t tell if you can see from my sketchbook notes, but I could tell he carried a lot of weight in his hips, twisting as he walked, arms swinging wide, his whole frame quite loose – very relaxed with no tension held in the body. At complete odds with my good posture dance background!
Below you can see the translation of costumes from bare to bear. Turning what you expect into something you don’t. The character performing for your entertainment, becoming the entertaining bear. In the act, the bear cannot get into the food in its picnic basket and is forced to revert to its feral state when it gets angry. For this I watched lots of Eric Bana clips turning into the hulk!
After turning feral, the bear eats a member of the audience and is much happier for having eaten something.