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Manoukian logging his latest discovery

Stan Manoukian saw his first monster at age thirteen. Out for an early morning fishing trip with his father, the fog loomed heavily above the water at the edge of the lake. With his rod in the water, the young Manoukian waited patiently for a tug on his line. But nothing came. And soon, he noticed everything around him had stopped. The sing-song of nearby birds, the rustling of leaves on the breeze; time, he said, seemed suspended.

The boy looked back in search of his father, who was still fussing with his fishing gear at the car. Stan turned his attention back to the dead calm of the water in front of him, and that’s when he saw it. A ripple, a big one, disturbing the glassiness of the water about 10 meters away, where the fog was heaviest. His eyes grew wide. He inched his toes closer to the water, but found he was already at the edge. The ripples approached. Stan could only watch. As they grew closer, the giant head of an unknown aquatic creature broke the surface of the water. Its skin was smooth, the gaze of its one eye arresting.

"Hughmee"

“Hughmee” 9.6″ x 7.6″ mixed media on lithograph paper

“It wasn’t dangerous looking at all,” Manoukian, now 43, recalls. “It was a mix between a fish and a human, with two big arms and tentacle fingers. We watched each other for probably only a few seconds, but the exchange felt interminable. My father came back from his car and nature returned to life; the creature disappeared in the blink of an eye and suddenly I had a big fish on my fishing rod! I guess it was a present from this creature as proof of our meeting.”

Since then, the Parisian artist sees monsters all the time, and everywhere. Even in the shower. “But you know, they don’t care about nudity,” he laughs, “nudity is liberty!”

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 A few days ago, Travis Louie gave us a taster of a couple Stan Skelves that he was working on for Le Carnaval des Spectres, opening next Thursday at Artoyz Paris. Well, damn, when Travis promises Stans, we get Stans: a whole Brady Bunch of ’em! Each of these dapper gents are one-of-a-kind and handpainted by Travis. They’ll retail for $950 each.

Funny: I wonder how many little slippers and moustaches Travis has littered about his studio; this batch is goin’ bare foot and that’s one freshly-shaved pickle if I ever saw one. (Travis refuses to eat pickles that have moustaches, by the way. But he’s perfectly OK with eyeballs.)

Le Carnaval des Spectres opens Sept. 13 through Oct. 20th at Artoyz Shop + Galerie in Paris, France. The exhibition marks CP’s first group exhibition on European soil and features a collection of new two- and three-dimensional works from Kathie OlivasBrandt PetersTravis LouieChris RyniakAmanda Louise Spayd and Teodoru Badiu.