November 19, 2013

When art comes back to haunt

When the decades roll by in the career of an artist, a curious thing happens. Art from the past can return to bring back warm fuzzy memories, embarrass with reminders of what one was willing to do for cash, or haunt the artist with life changes that have a ripple effect on art from times past.

Times change and with that comes the departure of loved ones, moving of households, new marriages and the ending of old ones. Sometimes these changes have resulted in my art work finding a better home, like in a museum where it is well cared for. Other times these changes have meant the loss of my art - the once cherished paintings and mosaics given away or relegated to a closet. At least the closet, if it is indoors, is better than a storage space that is not temperature or humidity controlled. I’ve had the experience of moldy art returning to me from southern storage facilities.

Some years ago I made a pair of mosaic masks in celebration of a marriage that recently ended. The masks were made in ceramic from casts of the then happy couple. They were decorated with glazes, fused glass and a healthy helping of gold tesserae. The golden masks were lovingly made and nicely displayed for a number of years. But with the end of that relationship I was recently contacted about selling these. I replied that even in good times it is very hard to sell art. I posted them on my website...there were few lookers no takers. I posted them on my Etsy shop as a sale item...there were more lookers no takers. So here is one posted on my last on-line venue - the blog. The golden mosaic mask, once a proud part of a household, now feels a bit like a once noble but now stray cat. “Won’t someone give me a loving home?” She seems to say. Or one could hope that although relationships are fleeting, whether by divorce or demise, the art that commemorated these relationships can rise eternal above and beyond an original purpose. This is certainly the case, I would like to think, of these art masks that aren’t really portraits but decorated impressions that supercede the ephemeral lives that brought them in to being. And since they are built of hearty materials they won’t go moldy in storage.

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