October 5, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Photo Store

I had taught a course in mosaic making based upon the black and white figural mosaics of ancient Rome. These Roman mosaics were elegant works of art with refined motifs - the limitations of black and white marble revealing the integrity of the individual tesserae. I was pleased with how my student's work in this course turned out. Like the good record keeper that I aspire to be, I photographed my students' mosaics with black and white film then took the film to the photo store to be developed and printed. When I picked up the photographs, however, I was in for a bit of a shock. For as it turned out I had not been sold a virgin roll of film. Oh no. It was film that had been opened, used halfway, and then, by some surreptitious means, reloaded into its casing and returned to the photo store to be resold to an unsuspecting customer. And the film had been used by none other than an avid Elvis Presley fan who sought to commemorate his pilgrimage to Graceland on black and white film. He had shot various important Elvis sites in and around the vicinity of Memphis, Tennessee, then, for reasons I cannot fathom, relinquished a partially exposed roll of film.
The strange yet spectacular result of the double exposed film was a collision of cultures and history - a crashing together of ancient Rome and Rock and Roll. My student's Roman mosaics were superimposed on such landmarks as the Sun Records building in Memphis. The photograph I've posted here is not something that I conjured up in photoshop. Who would want to do such a thing to a mosaic or to Sun Records?
Sometimes life is based on art and sometimes art follows life. My art proclaims the vicissitudes of life and the creative potential in chance occurances. So starting with the double exposed image in the photograph, I set to work on my oil painting. I've named the completed work The Sun Records Flounder Building in Memphis Tennessee. We all know it well.

1 comment:

harriett said...

Janet, you put such joi de vivre in your work!!! Your pieces remind me life is wonderful, in spite of it all, and full of surprises.