Speed painter Brad Blaze, AKA "wittypainter" at YouTube, demonstrates the result of combining creativity with canvas and house paint. He paints one portrait then transforms it into another, within a very short amount of time. But you really have to see it:
Or you can view it here. A big thank you to blog guest Brad Blaze for submitting his video for this post!
Is there anything like this in literature?
There is this: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. A scientist morphs a monster from cadaver body parts. Here's a video of the first film version (1910) ever created:
And this: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. A much admired and selfless doctor becomes obsessed with a scientific question about human nature. Experimenting on himself, he morphs into his evil opposite. Here's a 1920 film version:
How fast can a writer change our impressions of a character? Spin Doctors regularly and quickly do this for events and for public figures. Of course, writers have to first create a character portrait before they can morph it into something else and spin doctors have to find the character/person/event to spin.
I am thinking now of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Innocent English boys slowly morph into savage and barbaric beings when they wash up on a deserted island with no adult to guide them. Here's the 1963 film version:
There are also newer film and literary theme versions of these stories. Apparently we humans are intrigued by the idea of characters morphing into their opposites, or at least into something other than that originally presented--hence, our romance with all things vampire, werewolf, angel, magic, and myth. (If you haven't thought much about the wealth of meaning and historical background of the linked words in the previous sentence, the definitions linked to will give you some interesting insights.) At minimum we want to watch characters grow and change between the covers of the books we read, and during the films we watch.
Perhaps this desire to watch characters in art morph, is a desire to have art emulate life. On the other hand, it could be the opposite desire that motivates us - the desire to have life emulate art. While we are constantly changing throughout our lives, many of the morphing character portraits in literature, film, and art teach us something about the nature of our changing, or morphing: that our change--our growth as human beings--is not at the mercy of what acts on us. We choose how we morph.
It is a lesson in how much power we actually hold, and in how much responsibility we have for what we become and what we create.