The inspiration for this one was an old drawing for an advice to the lovelorn column; a woman on a boat fishing for, then measuring and tossing back little man after little man, as not good enough to keep. Later I redrew it with the man and the woman ‘in the same boat.’ I just found that sketch, maybe I’ll ink and color that one, too.
Those concepts were thought up and drawn years ago, but I still hold the same opinion of the situation. Men and women may be in the same boat, but they have different means and different goals. But in this one, the illustration is the same, but the metaphor is thrown wider, as I tend to do these days. It’s about–once again–the Freudian necessities of happiness, Work and Love.
The empty suit is Work. It’s a role played in public, attempting to get the attention of groups of people, having them to acknowledge and reward you in that role. One meaning of the metaphor is that all these suits kinda look the same, another is that they are functionally empty. But a more important meaning is that you can change clothes, you are not identical with them.
And Love shown as a naked body, a metaphor for sex, of course, but beyond that also as what you really are. you can’t trade your body for another like you can a suit or a job/career. It is what it is. Love is also not a public activity, being naked in public opens you to ridicule, arrest and ill health. But in private, love is still trying to get attention (acknowledgement and rewards,) but from only one person at a time.
I flip things around again, reversing Love (one on one) and Work (a group effort.) The suit–a la Love–pursues, begs for the attention of a single naked ‘person’ and the semi-naked woman seeking the attention of a school–as with Work, a group– of little ‘suits.’ This scene shows how unlikely success will be for either party. Mermaids and suits aren’t gonna hook up–their equipment doesn’t match. Neither are the flashing woman and her fish-men, they are more food than friend to her.
The moral is: Work doesn’t love and Love doesn’t work. But there is Art.