Vad fan glor du på?

As I’ve written earlier, the main reason for painting the snails and releasing them was to give someone who might find them a good reason to say “What the fuck?”. In that respect, I’m very satisfied with this particular one, and I wish I could have been there when (or if) it was found.

“Vad fan glor du på?”, the text written on the snail, means “What the fuck are you looking at?”. I can imagine a wide range of possible facial expressions and reactions in response to unexpectedly seeing a snail with that text written on it, but I wish I could be there when he goes “What the…?” and she cracks up laughing. Or vice versa.

Vad fan glor du på? Vad fan glor du på?

Konspirationssnigeln / Foliehatten / Conspiracy Snail

This snail is based on the stereotype conspiracy theorist with a tin foil hat. I covered it in aluminium foil, a rather long process as it was hard getting it to stick and fit around the shell.

I’ve wondered what happened to this particular one, more often than I’ve thought of the others. Did the foil make it hot, cooking it from inside? Perhaps it reflected the sunlight, helping it keep cool? Did the foil make it more visible, and thus most likely found and eaten by ducks or other animals, or did the reflections in fact scare predators away? For all I know, it dropped the foil within days of being released.

The third pic is the same as the first, but captioned. Again, it’s a jab at conspiracy theorists in general, but alien abduction believers in particular.

Konspirationssnigeln Konspirationssnigeln Conspiracy Snail

Handikappssnigeln / Handicap snail

Pretty much self-explanatory. The backstory is long, private and not very interesting.

Handikappssnigeln Handikappssnigeln

Muhammed (the Snail)

Since the satirical Muhammed drawings were published in Jyllands-Posten in 2005, it has become apparent freedom of speech in Sweden, Europe and the world is threatened. Not only by the small group of fanatical muslims who are violently opposed to any depictions of their prophet, but by people who are so afraid to offend anyone, they’d rather forbid potentially offensive material from being displayed anywhere.

We have seen it many times in the past five years; more or less violent protest marches, boycotts of unrelated companies, attacks on embassies, foiled terror plots and outright attacks on artists such as Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks, censorship of South Park, removal of Facebook groups, arrests of teachers allowing their pupils naming a teddy bear “Muhammad” and so much more.

This violent and oppressive clique are supported by a surprising amount of journalists, politicians, editors, debaters and others who would normally have an interest in being vehemently opposed to any attacks on freedom of speech. Through silence or even open endorsements they are now aiding a small amount of fascists in placing further restrictions on practical freedom of speech.

As an atheist and supporter of unconditional freedom of speech, it felt natural I named a snail Muhammed – not as a provocation, but because freedom of expression allows it. I’m not sure if there had been some recent news of a foiled terror plot or some threat made by extremists in the days before I painted it. I have looked through news archives without finding anything, but it doesn’t matter. The threat against freedom of speech is constant, and I guess the fact there had been no recent threats proves the painting was not just an angry outburst provoked by a report.

As for the snail itself, this was the first time I tried using a permanent marker for writing the text. I found the marker wasn’t quite as permanent as promised, so I had to cover the text with a coating of transparent lacquer. In the end it worked out fine.

Muhammed Muhammed

EDIT: I’ve removed some comments for this post that I think were all spam, because they were so poorly written they looked like they were generated by a spambot. Svenskar, om ni har svårt för engelska, skriv på svenska i stället.

Piraten / The Pirate

I painted this snail the day after the Swedish EU election. Consider it a celebration for Piratpartiet (the Pirate Party) getting 7,1 % of the votes, and thus one seat in the EU parliament.

It had been a dark year for personal integrity in Sweden, with many of the oppressive laws originating from EU and being supported by all somewhat serious parties in Sweden. Sending a pirate to the EU parliament was equal to giving the politicians and lobbyists behind the laws, in Brussels and Stockholm alike, the finger. Of course, nothing has changed and nothing will change, and we all knew it.

Piraten Piraten

Kommunisten / The Communist

Having made a German WW2 snail, supposedly a “secret nazi experiment”, it was only fair I made a communist snail.

This site category will be updated with new snails twice a week from now on.

Kommunisten Kommunisten Kommunisten

Tysken / The German / Panzer Snail

The idea behind painting snails and releasing them was to give people a proper “WTF?!” moment when they found them. I never planned on showing them off on this site or anywhere else with my name linked to them. In fact, in order to truly give people a “WTF?!” moment, it is essential the identity of the painter is unknown to them. Thus, aside from a few people I know, no one has seen my snails as far as I know.

Now, winter has passed, and I’m getting more and more interested to know if they have been found, and hopefully, someone might read this site and remember a strange time last summer. I’m also interested in knowing how many, if any, have survived to this summer. The last batch of snails I started by autumn last year weren’t finished, and were released in my garden. This spring, my brother found one of them, so I’m sure they can survive. The question is: How many of them have?

To the point! This snail is meant to resemble German WW2 splinter camouflage. It was painted that way in order to be used for the composite shot below. The composite shot was made to show a previously unknown secret weapon of Nazi Germany recently discovered in the US National Archives, hoax style. It is made from a shot of my snail and a still frame from Band of Brothers’ fourth episode. I wish I could have made it larger, but sadly DVD resolution was a limitation.

Tysken Tysken Tysken Previously Unknown German Panzer Snail

Introducing: The Snailpimp

Happy Overlord D-Day and Swedish National Day!

Last summer I found myself out of a job and with little to occupy myself with. It wasn’t long before I was climbing the walls, bored out of my mind. About six months previously I had come across the shortlived Inner City Snail project, which I made a post about here. Already the day I saw it, I was inspired and wanted to do something similar, but it was winter at the time and, alas no snails to be found.

Little over a year ago, I conducted the first trials to see how I would go about getting paint to stick without killing or hurting the snails. It turned out to be easier than I thought – regular Humbrol model paint did the trick and stuck to the shell. If I got paint on the snail itself, the snail would shed it within minutes. I also found that in spite of being known as a slow creature, they are impossible to paint anything detailed on while moving.

The paints used were old and the brushes of poor quality, and in conjuction with the first batch being experimental, the first ones are thus rather messy. Once finished, the snails are photographed and released at a location in Kalmar that will remain undisclosed for now. I will be posting at least one snail a week from last year’s painting season all summer, starting today.

Notes on species (12th September 2010): Unlike the Inner City Snail project and some other ones I was sent a link to yesterday, the snails I’ve painted are the cepaea hortensis (trädgårdssnäcka or “garden snail” in Swedish). The others are of the helix pomatia (vinbergssnäcka in Swedish) type, the same that some cultures consider to be a delicacy if served with garlic butter.

The difference, from my perspective, is mainly the size – the ones I collect in my garden are about one fifth to one fourth of the size when fully grown. I found a couple of the helix pomatia and brought them home for painting, thinking they’d allow me to fit far more detail and being able to carry a lot more weight. As it turned out they were very slimy, the shells had a rougher texture, they were far more active and had no problem breaking (or even eating!) their way out of cardboard boxes.

Keeping them would require a different level of commitment to maintaining the box of the snails, and the amount of paint and the time it would take to actually finish one proved daunting. The more time I put into a snail, the harder it is to let it go, and I can’t keep snails over winter. They were disgusting and bothersome, so I got rid of them and returned to my own garden snails.

The first batch of six released were very poorly finished, and the photos were taken late in the evening under poor lighting conditions in the kitchen. If I remember correctly, the detail painting was done with a toothpick on the first four. They are:

“Greken” – (The Greek)
Inspired by the typical greek pattern.

Syndabocken/Kalmar Konstmuseum – The scapegoat/Kalmar Art Museum
In case the snails would be found and the local green terror militia (you know who you are) would get pissy, I felt it appropriate they attacked the newly built art museum that has all the fugly characteristics of a Vogon spaceship. Call it killing two birds with one stone as a worst case scenario.

This was shortly after the Konstfack scandal where first class idiot Anna Odell was given permission from her teachers at one of the major art universities in Sweden to waste the time and money of the Swedish healthcare system for the sake of art. Seeing as the finished installation with her lying on a table screaming was to be shown at the local museum, I felt it especially appropriate.

This was intended to be a smiley, but the black paint was old and runny, and using a toothpick was obviously not ideal.

Irakveteranen – The Iraq War veteran
This one has Falluja ’07 and a peace sign written on it. Consider it a buddhist soldier in the Iraq War that didn’t do so well. I’ll leave the train of thought unexplained. If you’re clever you’ll get all the aspects of it, if not, be satisfied to see it as a salute to those who got killed in Falluja during 2007.

Again, toothpicks are not good for painting.

Blixten – Flash
A stroke of irony. Calling someone “Blixten” – “The flash” – in Swedish suggests he’s fast as lightning.

The typical hotrod pattern – red with flames on the side. Also a reference to the joke that painting flames on something makes it run faster.

I think this was the first one where I used a fine paintbrush for the finer painting, rather than a toothpick.

EDIT: Sadly, I can’t get the pictures to line up the way I want them, but you should be able to tell them apart anyway. In future updates, there will only be one snail per post.

Greken Syndabocken

Smiley Irakveteranen


Blixten Blixten Hotrod Hotrod Hotrod