Some projects take months, sometimes even years to come to fruition, it can seem like you're reluctantly forcing the finished piece into existence. On the other hand, some projects take on a life of their own as if they are building themselves while you sleep. This project is certainly one of those that had 'the elves and the shoemaker' syndrome as it seemed to have come together without much conscious interaction. Without sounding too 'out there' I feel like most of my art is the result of an outside influence and by outside I mean not the natural world around me but the supernatural. Something takes hold and guides my hands while my brain slips into neutral and listens to the radio or ponders menial problems like what to cook the boys for dinner. Looking at the bizarre demonic toy sat on my workshop table I can only really come to the conclusion that there's a very strong possibility that the Devil did indeed make me do it.
After 4 weeks of researching and tinkering I can finally reveal the restored version of The Devil Made Me Do It. I use the term restoration loosely though as there were hardly enough remaining components to build a quarter of what you see here. Apart from a battered head, smashed body and the original wooden box (wooden enclosure only minus the art), the rest of the project has been an educated guess influenced by the descriptions in Reverend Morrison's diary. At this stage it is, as the title suggests, a shell as there are no working elements installed at the moment. My wife's uncle has made some progress on the clockwork mechanism and I hope to install this towards the end of July.
The artwork was probably the most time consuming element as it was like a jigsaw puzzle with 60% of the pieces missing. With no chance of ever locating the missing art it was down to imagination and many hours sat at the graphic tablet with my hands working autonomously. The 'game' certainly conveys a 1950s carnie feel, the addition of the 3-card game board and lights are my own personal touches.
Aesthetically it is nothing like any of my previous work which has been solely Gothic Victoriana. Granted, it is a restoration project but when presented with so few parts and sketchy information where does restoration end and creation begin?
A demonic focal point for any serious collection, 'The Devil Made Me Do It' commands curiosity and draws in the inquisitive like flies to a corpse. The juxtaposition of the vintage toy facade coupled with satanic overtones makes it an unnerving conversation piece with strange powers that can be demonstrated to those who dare play with the Devil! In that respect it does what the original device intended to do, to temporarily tempt the righteous away from God to demonstrate how easily evil can influence behavior if you let your guard down for one moment. That is of course if you believe in all that bunkum.
'The Devil Made Me Do It' is the satanic love child of a possessed Jack in a Box and Zoltar the Fortune Teller and in a few weeks I shall hopefully be the Dr Frankenstein who gives this monster life once more. Given the unfortunate history you have to ask yourself if it is wise to mess with the unknown? To which I say “Yes!”
Check back soon to see what happens when the lights and working mechanism are installed in a few weeks.