Before getting into the featured work, I would like to mention that October 1 will mark four years that I stepped down from my fulltime job and embarked on this absurd journey as a freelance artist. Obviously it has had its ups and downs, but I am generally satisfied with where things have progressed creatively, this year accomplishing two involved series of works (the Piecable Kingdom and the Natasa Series) among many other individual works. Public exposure of my work has and will probably always remain a challenge, due in part to a combination of an overabundance of artists yet limited venues, as well as my own discomfort in marketing my work outside of internet locales such as Etsy or Facebook. Searching for creative inspiration while maintaining economic stability can almost seem like contradictory goals that requires no shortage of mental gymnastics. In some ways, today’s piece represents that contradiction, but I’d rather let the art do the talking, so let’s dive into it!
There are moments when it would be great to go back in time and get a snapshot before I started to dismantle some of the things I collect to be used for potential art pieces. This would be one of those times. Found a great clock body at a sale run by my friends Kathy and Trish. But alas, it was too tempting to leave alone, and will have to just show you what it looked like after the fact. Below, the top of the clock is the bottom, the bottom is the top, and the door has already been removed. The clock was also rectangular, but already I was envisioning having some angles going on, and added some height to it as well:
The original intent of the cage was to sit at the bottom, but felt the piece needed to be a little more dynamic, so added a chain to it, so it could hang. Still didn’t know what would go in the cage…
I like the idea of having two components that angle downward, so spent a bit of time getting everything to look like it belonged together. The picture below shows the basic structure the piece will have.
The background behind the cage seemed a wee bit stark, so started looking for some imagery. My only guidelines were “something blue.” May seem like easy parameters, but took the good part of an afternoon. Finally came upon this picture of medieval tapestry:
Loved the blue pattern, but that was all I wanted. So the next step was to scan this, take it into photoshop, and do a lot of careful cloning. Wound up keeping the landscape at the bottom. Now that the decision for the interior image was made, could get to constructing it all.
It’s hard to make out in the picture above, but I finally decided upon something to go in the cage. My friend Clair had given me a bone to go into an earlier piece, but wound up not working for that one. I set it aside, and discovered it works very nicely in this one. It appears to be the vertebrae of some unspecified creature.
You might notice the square cut out in the top part of the piece. About this time, thought it would be nice to have this piece lit up from the inside, so needed to create a back hatch in order to swap out the lights, which would once again be an led strip, controlled by remote control. Tested it out, and while the picture below doesn’t show the color very well, it showed enough to give an idea that it would work.
Throughout this time, I had been struggling with that bare wood near the top. When I tried to add something to it, it looked tacked on, but without anything it seemed like dead space. So instead of an object, once again thought about print. And another afternoon was spent looking for just the right picture.
After much searching, found this gem:
This is an illustration from 1590 of the port city of Aden. This felt like a tipping point in the creation of this artwork. It finally started to tell a story, even if not a specific story. The next couple photo show the illustration once it was glued to the piece. I added some stain over it to help it look more like the rest of the piece.
While most of the guts of the clock had been removed, attach a wee watch face to the center, as seen above.
Also…the cage finally hangs on its own!
The next photo shows the piece almost done. The two parts left mainly were the top and bottom. The top involved what would go on behind the circular window. The led strip would light up the interior which would have a translucent glass orb, and more of the medieval tapestry imagery. Unfortunately it’s pretty hard to see in the final photos.
The bottom I would add more brass decor like was used at the top. And with that, it was done!
The name of this piece is “Approaching Aden.” It is about two feet tall, and 14 inches wide, and is lit by a remote-controlled LED strip. It hangs on the wall, and is self-standing if secured.