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The Amazing Shaye Saint John
Shaye Saint John burst onto the YouTube scene in 2006, with short, usually 3-5 minute works of absurdly beautiful weirdness that achieved both epic horror status and absolute original comic genius. Shaye attracted a relatively large audience, most of whom didn’t know what to make of her, him, or her. A DVD was created and released by Indican Pictures in 2004. Apparently some festivals and curators had shown the work, but as usual most of the experimental curators were asleep at the wheel after blindly letting Shaye Saint John’s incredible work pass .
Shaye’s character consisted of other worldly, almost alien qualities; speak in an eerie, alien voice sounding something between a paralyzed multi-amputee victim and a badly botched plastic surgery patient (a difficult story had spread of Shaye being an ex-model in a gruesome badly disfigured car wreck ). Shaye rode with her regardless of the condition and posed as something of a starlet with entrepreneurial ventures such as skin strip sessions and drip diets. His epic catchphrases (“gawd! gams! twenty-four seven!”) were delivered in a way that was all Shaye; a language of her own, living in a world of her own with her sometimes sidekick Kiki and friends (imaginary?) with whom she joked on the phone.
Shaye’s action appeared to be set in Los Angeles, as indicated by early street performances of Shaye getting around in a wheelchair to take pictures with tourists in Hollywood. The LA scene was fine, but it really could have been anywhere, in the United States, as we see the reality that budding star transgressions exist across the country; the allure of doing it, dieting to look like the celebrities and ultimately becoming that star or starlet in some way. A whole rooted American dream that draws its charm from every crevice in the country.
A legend in his mind, Shaye seemed to be. But the Shaye legend has been cemented solidly electronically and globally across the digital landscape, as evidenced not just by online views, but by the strong reactions, outright confusions and high accolades garnered; Shaye was indeed, the real deal.
In reality, the real deal was Eric Fournier. He was the creator of Shaye Saint John. The exact details are unclear; was he the one behind the weird mannequin mask? Was he the accelerated voice of the other world? Since it seems many of Shaye’s plays have a “moving camera,” perhaps Eric was behind the lens, directing all the action and providing dialogue. We only know Eric by the “realized” credit he left on the DVD. It was speculated that he was playing Shaye, but never confirmed to my knowledge.
Sadly, Eric passed away earlier this year, at the end of February. There are some old producer credits on his IMBD page, and some notoriety attached to him being in a well-known punk band in the 80s called The Blood Farmers. Other than that, not much has surfaced at the time of writing this article and researching this writer online.
YouTube accounts don’t automatically die when the physical body ceases to function, so Shaye lives on in the electronic landscape, garnering more and more views every day. On Shaye’s YouTube profile page, the comments point out and acknowledge that Shaye (Eric) is deceased. Many comments ranging from hate to praise all show what an absurdly strong and effective force we have lost.
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