Joie de Vivre

The Stevedore Ghost

Like many others, I discovered Allison Sommer’s art via a link on Illustration Friday. Please visit her flickr page and see how amazing her paintings are. They speak for themselves.

I noticed that she had bookplates for sale, and thought GREAT! I’ll order some and maybe one will help me *not* loose my new Moleskine book! Then, somewhere on one of her sites, I saw that she will trade taxidermy for art.


Yes, “Seriously,” the site assured me.

As metaphysical possibility would have it, I happened to have a stuffed frog named Alfio.

Senor Alfio the Frog

Ms. Sommers readily agreed to give Alfio a new home, and to send me a painting in exchange. And, as metaphysical possibility would have it, I ended up with the amazing Stevedore Ghost.

Stevedore Ghost

“No more heavy lifting for him, and the rats he befriended on the docks while alive have kindly offered to accompany him in the afterlife– a fine death, indeed.”

Indeed indeed!

Scale view

The detail of this is stunning. The four Dorans stood in a circle and unwrapped the package and gasped. Absolutely amazing. I feel really, really lucky.

If you have some taxidermy to trade, I recommend doing so.

Another coincidence is that the Stevedore Ghost is destined to reside in my studio, the barm (with an M, yes). One day, while working in the barm, I realized that the barm is actually surrounded by barnacle encrusted docks and seaweed nettles and a steel gray ocean sky next to an intimidating sea crawling with galleons and that I am a dockworker. Odd, but true – I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner. I wonder if the Stevedore Ghost was haunting the barm that day?

He certainly is now.

Thank you Allison.