My big gull obsession

My Big Gull Obsession

An essay on seagulls, art, and a little bit on divorce


In the film Harold and Maude, Maude says “Dreyfus once wrote from Devil's Island that he would see the most glorious birds. Many years later in Brittany he realized they had only been seagulls” and just like Maude; to me they will always be glorious birds. 


Throughout history societies have created incredible art by taking their everyday experiences and images then replicating them in exaggerated ways. These images were commonly used in religious ceremonies through the wearing of masks to induce surreal experiences this helped enforce societal ideals into participants. The but exaggeration of our normalcy can only enforce what we already know. As artists we exaggerate the things we deem most important. such as when we learn to draw faces the eyes and lips tend to be too big because they are the most prominent features to us. Once you recognize this you can choose what you want to emphasize in an image, Enforcing your ideals into the viewer. Today I enforce: The Gull


Gulls (formerly, and maybe currently known as a seagulls) are not the most beautiful bird in the world but when you see the shape of one you know exactly what it is, the most birdiest bird in the world I would say. Although the shape of them is great, what I am most obsessed with is their personalities. Whenever I see them I try to remember them; what they do and how they look while they’re doing it. Sadly because they’re so common people look past them a lot of the time and don’t truly take in all the joys that gulls have to offer.


When I was over in the UK, I lived in a small studio flat just a few hundred meters from Brighton beach. I walked along that beach most days heading home from the train. On the grass verges before you got to the beach there would always be mating peers doing little dances with each other tapping their feet quickly on the grass turning in circles. It was very very cute, but, what they were actually doing was patting down the grass to make warm little sleeping compressions for themselves. That is what gulls are to me, big happy birds that remind me of sleeping and the sea. Now being back in New Zealand, I live by the sea again, although I no longer see mating peers dancing on grass, I do see staunch birds sitting on lamp posts. Everyday I see them running along the sidewalk in the morning, sometimes they’re yelling at each other and other times they’re alone looking kinda sad staring out at the ocean. Going back to when they’re sitting on those lamp posts though, that’s when I’m in awe. Usually it’s on my way home from work that I see them, so the sun is setting and they have this brilliant orange glow surrounding them. Then they’re not cute like the mating peers in Brighton, they are glorious. It’s an image burned into my head that won’t leave, Almost like an unwanted house guest, but this house guest intrigues me I like the mundane image constantly exaggerating itself in my head.


Gulls, they’re weird birds. They have these exocrine glands, So they can drink salt water and then excrete it through their nostrils. Pretty much they have real salty snot all the time. Sometimes they also eat mice and it’s strange how they do it. They struggle to eat them dry so they always fly them to some water and dip the mouse, about 5 or 6 dunks does the trick. The Gull does this to moisten them up so they slip down their throat with no worries. Gull social systems are strangely similar to our own most are monogamous and mate for life. Lucky for them though they also have divorce although unlucky for them other seagulls will shame them for it kinda like us. But I’m here to say Gull or not if you wanna leave your partner you should probably do it aye? 


I don’t really know what I’m doing writing this essay about seagulls and my obsession with them, it started out with just wanting to make some art which had a seagull in it. I thought it would make a good essay cover so I thought I’d better write an essay to go with the cover so here you are reading that short essay. Maybe this gives an insight into my artistic process from inspiration to creation, or maybe you just learnt some weird facts about seagulls and now know I have a strange obsession with them. I don’t know what you’ll do with that information. If you wanna do anything, stare at common place things more, it could inspire you to create something strange, maybe an essay on seagulls.

With Love,

McGregor Allen