drawing:. viking runes & til death do us part.

I wanted to go into the back story on this one piece a little more.

It’s an American bison skull, which mostly doesn’t have much meaning besides the part where I was looking for Americana elements and their skulls are rad. The whole foundation of the piece has to do with marriage, however. A previous skull and rings drawing of mine, promises, was birthed for the same reasons, actually. Months had passed, but I remained stuck on the same thoughts about marriage that were battering my mind, and ideas and concept, and I wanted to execute it a little differently.


The rings are obviously symbolic of marriage and are overlapping for a little ‘infinity’ action. The skull is symbolic of ’til death do us part’. The words around it are the bits that need a little additional explanation though: the simple symbols above the words are viking runes, part of the viking alphabet (if you will). I wrote the name of the rune below it as well as the meaning – or the meaning I was going for, as they each hold multiple meanings. There is ING (work), GEBO (marriage), MANNAZ (family), and NAUBIZ (need). The massive pull for including NAUBIZ was the actual symbol, however. A bit of a crooked cross, which for whatever reason just leaps at me like an old driftwood cross of a tired working man who has never forgotten his need for Jesus. I placed it at the bottom so it can hold the rest.

Why marriage has been so assaulting to my brain lately is a subtle mystery, and also just an obvious part of growing old I think. Old, as in I turned 25 this year, so not actually old at all but old enough that I think my mind and body are transitioning further into adulthood and actually wanting that companionship in a newer way than I have before. It’s also been heavy on my mind as I observe all my friends relationships around me (I only have one female friend in Spokane who is unmarried, all the rest are totally and unequivocally hitched), and also watch some of those relationships fall apart. The discussions between us have a new weight and authenticity as these choices are very real, and very heavy.

Some relationships are amazing, and some really just don’t work. And ya know, to a degree sometimes I think that’s okay. The thing about the failed marriages that has kept me from sleep some nights however, is when the reasons seem to be little more than a desire for personal happiness on behalf of one person, and the seemingly unrelenting selfishness on their part to pursue that without regard to their spouse, families, friends, or promises. Without judging individual circumstances, and realizing (hopefully) there’s more to it than that, this still leaves me with an incredible amount of nausea.

And that’s sort of where this piece came from. It came from a very real and sincere ache in my heart and inability to sleep. It came from a place of still hoping and wanting to believe that commitment means something real, and the old Arab adage ya’arburnee* could still hold weight in the hearts of men and women. Or even girls and boys? Do they still have hope for fulfilling and healthy relationships? God I hope so.

My heart aches because my friends hearts are aching, and my heart hurts because it can be hard to not be afraid the same thing will happen to me. Sometimes it feels like my options are to marry HOPEFULLY the ‘right’ man and risk the greatest failure of my life, or just remain single and avoid it. Both suck. But when the risk is put in those terms, the risk sucks more, and the risk becomes too risky. But being single for the rest of my life is not exactly the raddest option either.

I guess really, what those nights came down to was a half written letter as a plea to married people to stay together and not get lost with the wind, and to help me believe in promises again. And it came down to making art. Some art that will be seen, and some that won’t.

I guess my point is this: I still believe love can be selfless, and giving, and caring, and encouraging, and supportive, and absolutely committed. I still believe there are people who every day that they wake up both decide to choose the other person and love them best. They both do, equally, at the same time. And that in the shitty parts and the days where both people just suck, they still would rather go home to that annoying spouse than anyone else.

And I think, ultimately, that’s what this piece represents.


* ya’arburnee: arabic “may you bury me”, essentially meaning “I hope I die first, because to be left alone without you would be more than I can bear.” A piece coming from this word will surface shortly.

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One Response to “drawing:. viking runes & til death do us part.”

  1. Hello! First, love this piece of work and all the thought and meaning that you put into it.

    So marriage is an amazing but very frightening thing. I feel like it’s design to be in that regard because it is one of those very tough life decision that bring about a great heap of change along with compromise amongst both parts. I feel you fear, because it is in every person but some just decide to look the other way not analyze the situation and get hitched to a person they believe was the right person, without getting to know then, miss reading the signs and not wanting to compromise for mutual happiness. Compromise in part is a big reason for failed relationships and marriages, Love is not lacking, but that initial love fades into a constant but bare controlled flame and with nothing to support a foundation then the whole thing falls apart and you are soon dancing in a burning room with your significant other. Foundations are built on trust and open comunication.

    People are so afraid that they become un willing to make small sacrafices because they don’t what to be changes by their other. It’s not about being changed or take me as I am it’s about giving up mutual parts to be able to come together as a whole. To be able to trust some one completely with the other half of the whole and to be able to communicate your feelings and know that you will be heard.

    Please don’t remain single because then the guy you were meant for will loose out on meeting the most spectacular girl on the planet! relationships are equall parts logic, emotion, and magic. I also have high be life that you will analyze a situation with great detail that you will not alow yourself to get into a bad marriage/relationship, which is great, but being very analytical about things will allow you to miss all the good things when you are in search for the negatives and there solutions which is the usual when people analyze, take it from someone who knows!

    I still believe in love and marriage and in building a beautiful home for my, some day, wife and children with my hands. And I hope that this gives you reason to believe in it as well. Till death do us part — is a promise I will hold dear.

    -Mario (@cap10m)

  2. Cap10m on November 23rd, 2013 at 9:09 am

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