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MELTY HARRIS

Melty Dreeven Harris stands at an approximate height of 5 Pearsons, or 4.5 without his built-up heel sticks. (He is about 5.6 when he stood on a box.) Always a timid and nervous character, recognisable by his florid complexion, high laugh and piercing almost-snakelike eyes (and coarse, flaky skin, again not unlike a snake), Melty first came to prominence when a loose sketch of some grass won the Island Look-at-that award for two cycles running. Harris's love of grass can be seen in the four volumes of his grass drawings, which are still in print today. The later work, 'Tufts', brought his reputation into dispoot as critics felt he had 'gone too far' with 'the grass thing' (Lome Arkron, critic, Jinsy Gazetteer). After the 'Tuft' years, Harris went into a deep depression and started just painting holes. The resulting 'Hole' exhibition led to rioting and a lot of shouting, mainly by women, outside the Art-Barn. Critics again were quick to judge: ''Holes' shows the basic vacuum at the heart of Harris' work. What next?". Harris went into another deep depression but soon was inspired to follow new ideas with his 'sand' period and could be seen, often in the earliest hours of sun-up, crouching in dunes with a huge magnifying glass, working on sketches of single grains. A horrible incident when the wind changed and he inhaled one of his sitters, Clayre, led to an even deeper depression than the last deep depression. It was at this nadir of spirits that Melty Harris first began work on the definitive map of Jinsy that is still in use today (except in Kraw Parish, where people are better off not finding their way anywhere in the first place). Friends had commented on the fact that nobody really knew where anything was or how to get there, and once you were there you couldn't find your way back again, and the idea just sort of sprang at him, like a mad rabbit. He worked continuously, night and day, day and night, a few more days, and one more night, until his map was complete. That's it. Oh - If you look carefully at the serated edges of the Tezzer Cliffs, you can just make out a self-portrait of MH. And if you look at the map and walk round the room, the place names follow you. Sometimes.
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Moosic from Series 2 of 'This is Jinsy'
Moosic from Series 1 of 'This is Jinsy'
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