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NANCY CARR • Sarah Yakawonis, who runs the Etsy shop Yakawonis Quilling, has created images of each of the Beatles as a literal rock god, with intriguing results.
George, perfectly at home
With George’s affinity for Indian spiritual traditions, it’s appropriate that he comes off particularly well (his portrait incorporates aspects of Krishna). With his beads and meditative posture, George looks like he’d be right at home in Rishikesh, and as if he could hold his serene pose indefinitely.
John, creating and destroying
If John were a Hindu deity, it’s a safe bet he’d be Shiva, a primary Hindu god who is both creator and destroyer, with “many benevolent and fearsome forms.” It makes sense that John-as-Shiva is nearly naked, given the cover of “Two Virgins.” Unsurprisingly, John also has the biggest halo of the bunch, and wears a stern mien befitting the bearer of a protest sign.
Paul just looks blissed out. Like John, he’s got four arms, but in typical McCartney fashion he seems to be overachieving with them. He’s not only cradling his Hofner in playing position, but also holding a pen and proffering “Love” (which looks a bit like a wad of cash, just sayin’). He’s also pointing upward, but more in a “hey, look, it’s sunny!” way than in an admonishing one. Yakawonis Quilling blends Paul’s image with Saraswati’s, the “Hindu goddess of music, writing, and all of the arts.” Interesting that it’s a goddess, in light of our recent conversations about Lennon/McCartney and “masculine”/”feminine” attributes.
Ringo would like to put some clothes on
As for Ringo . . . . he looks quite uncomfortable as a god. Maybe we’ve caught him at a bad time? Where John wears his near-nakedness proudly, Ringo looks like he’d really like to put on some clothes. He also seems uncertain about the whole levitating thing. His image is based on that of Vamana, described by Yakawomnis Quilling as “the dwarf avatar of lord Vishnu that grows into a giant to save the world.” Yup, sounds like Ringo: routinely underestimated, actually essential.
Though when it comes to appearances, Ringo definitely got the short end of the (drum)stick.
[BTW, everybody, I just checked the store and they are available as pillows, too. In case you don’t want to sleep on posters. Hey Sarah, tell us more about these things and I’ll stick it right here at the bottom of the post. — MG]
12/19/14, Sarah writes in:
“Thanks Mike! What a cool article! My Beatlefan-ness started in high school where I was kind of obsessed with all things ’60s. I was for sure that hippie girl floating from class to class with her Discman listening to the Beatles. I even dropped my chemistry class for an independent study in the art and times of the 60’s.
In time my full-blown obsession died down but my love of the Beatles remained strong. I went to college, graduated, and became obsessed with the art of quilling! Quilling is the art of taking long thin strips of paper and coiling, looping and shaping them into various designs. I used it in these illustrations to make the lotus flowers and halos. I like to mix my illustrations with quilling, and photograph the results. I use those photographs to make the prints and pillows.
I wanted to make a series that turned a light on the “god” status that society gives to some celebrities, and who better then the Beatles? For the Beatles Hindu gods made the most sense, and I knew the most about them. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t offend anyone so I asked my Philosophy teacher from college to recommend some pairings. He sent me his recommendations and I went with all of them except for Ringo. He had suggested Ganesh for Ringo, but Ganesh’s main feature is an elephant’s head. I filled in all of the other details, what they were holding and the like. I did mess up on one thing: I put Paul’s guitar in his right hand. I’ve gotten more then a few notes telling my about my mistake!
Are you going to do more Beatles stuff?
Probably not. But I’ll never say never, if I come up with an idea for another Beatles series I’ll make more.
And do you take commissions?
Not right now. Thanks for the post!
You’re very welcome, Sarah. Once again, her Etsy shop is here.