Butterfly Quilt is an animation video that was inspired by my mother's
beautiful quilting and by my great uncle, Eugene, who was a painter
and an extraordinary person. The 'Our Lady' paintings in this video
were done by him, and each one is of the Virgin Mary, a subject
he painted all his life, but painted her exclusively for the last
couple decades of his life.
Watch the video here.
Eugene was a bit of a mad man. He lived in Toronto, in a big corner house
that always smelled like turpentine. It looked and smelled like 'safety
and warmth'. The only times another 'aroma' trumped the turpentine was
when he made bacon and eggs in the morning, one of the only things he
knew how to cook. Most 'living' rooms in the house were filled with paintings
and funky-looking old furniture, like a vagabond gallery. The paintings
were done by him or by friends in his community of artists, and hung
on walls with exposed wires, some framed, but most not. Interestingly
he kept his hallways and upstairs walls and bedrooms, naked and uncluttered,
the walls and ceilings painted white. There wasn't a television that
I recall. He was a life-long bachelor - he
was already spoken for.
He went to church every day, and never locked his house. He and his friends
- mostly priests - would hang out in his kitchen and get loaded. He shopped
at Costco before Costco was invented; his closets were crammed with toilet
paper, toothpaste, shaving products and ordinary white bar soap, which
he used for all his cleaning needs, including washing his body, hair,
clothes and dishes. He sold toothbrushes to support himself. He was the
type of uncle who'd tell you crazy shit that you weren't supposed to know
yet because you were only 5.
hell," he'd say, then laugh like a madman, take a swig of whiskey,
a drag on his big-ass pipe and then hork a loogie in his living room.
It was all fucking nuts to a 5 year old. Many things he told me as a small
child were just plain 'wrong'. He was the first to introduce me to the
subject of race, by telling me that blacks were lazy and untrustworthy,
and that women, especially asian women, can't drive. This can have a profound
impact on a young mind. (While we're on the subject, I'd like to mention
that blacks are dangerous and women can't drive, especially asian
"Say what?," I'd wonder. "You can't tell me that, man.
I'm only 5 years old!"
"...Oh fucking hell, have a drink why don't you... you're what now(?)
"No, I just said, I'm 5!"
"Oh, shut up, you brat. Listen to me: in a couple years you'll be
banging some broad in the back seat of your scooter. What does it all
"I don't have a scooter. And besides, scooter's don't have back seats!"
"You crazy kid! Ya little arse! All back seats have scooters!"
The last time I saw my great uncle alive I was at his home in Toronto
and asked him if I could have a couple of random paintings to keep, and
he told me to go down into his basement and take whatever I wanted. There
I discovered his secret stash of porn; hundreds and hundreds of paintings
of the Virgin Mary stacked up along the walls of his basement.
I grabbed a couple, one of which was a version of the Virgin Mary as an
it wasn't one of the better paintings of her he ever did, but on the day
he painted that one he was sober.
and my late great uncle are both coo-coo, and so is this video.
to the women in the West Island Quilting Group who made the quilt used
in the video.
size of this video is 50mb, so it will take about 2minutes to dl on good
hi-speed. It's about 10 minutes long and rendered at 460 pixels, which
is a reasonable viewing size. The video quality is above average. There's
no sex or violence or swearing. It's probably appropriate for anyone over
the age of, let's say, 4. Fucking hell, I'd show this to a 5 year old.
You'll need your sound turned on. It's packed. And as an extra bonus,
Kago's in it.