Grout is Good: When Commissions Come Together

Occasionally I get the chance to create a piece of art that is commissioned for a particular purpose or occasion.

 

Once I made a collage time-line of sorts for a client who gave me important photos, memorabilia, and documents from his life to incorporate.  It was scary working with such precious things, among them a copy of his birth certificate, weathered and encased in fragments of plastic. He was someone I didn’t know and he didn’t want to influence my design or working process at all — total trust. And that was nerve-wracking. Would he like it? In the end I think he did, or at least he said he did.

 

Once a friend commissioned a piece of art for her wedding; two nesting doves portrayed in scratchboard. The original black and white image was reproduced in purple for the wedding invitations, programs, and t-shirts. Ten years later my friend’s parents commissioned another piece, now for my friend’s tenth anniversary. I used mixed-media collage for this one, again in purple. And now the doves have kids.

 

Today I am in the process of making a small commissioned piece in mosaic. The design phase is over, and for me that’s the hardest part of the creative process and also the most satisfying. The finished piece will be a gift commemorating new beginnings in a story that only my client could tell. I’ve enjoyed gathering some of the details of the lives that this piece will honor. I’ve worked alongside my client to find the right symbol and design: blowing prairie grasses. I am using broken shards of recycled dishes to make the mosaic. In addition, I’m incorporating small pieces of colored glass, special to my client who picked them up around her farm. I’ll know whether or not the mosaic will come together as a whole only after I grout it and it dries. Grout is the unifier. Grout is good.

Going / Home / Coming at the Percolator

This is a detail of "Democrats!" at the Lawrence Percolator.

Everyone is invited to the opening reception for the exhibit Going / Home / Coming on August 13, 6 – 9 pm, at the Lawrence Percolator in Lawrence, KS. The artists whose work will be shown explore the theme of “home” with the following in mind: When do you become aware of home? In what situations do you not feel at home? How does the idea of home change over time?

 

My piece in the exhibit includes an anecdote from my childhood about growing up as a Democrat in a Republican state — my home state of Kansas. I made the piece by applying and scratching off various inks on a clayboard surface. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing and reading this quirky little piece.

 

The Lawrence Percolator is located in the alley between 9th and 10th streets and behind the Lawrence Arts Center on New Hampshire St. The exhibit runs August 13 – September 11, 2011, and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon – 6 pm, and on the Final Friday of each month from 5 – 8 pm.

1109 Gallery Exhibit (and upcoming shows)

Headwind (available)

Strange birds are visiting my imagination, and although these are caught in a strong headwind, you might also enjoy the bird-oid I made playing in a fountain, on display at the 1109 Gallery (1109 Massachusetts, Lawrence, KS) from November 11 – January 10, 2010.  Everyone is invited to the opening reception on November 14, from 7 – 9 pm.

I would also like to invite you to see my work at Bethel College in N. Newton, KS in March, 2010, and at the Percolator Gallery in Lawrence, KS in either May or June of 2010.  More information on these exhibits will be coming soon

The Latest

January

I wanted to make a piece of art based on the iconic image of blackbirds sitting in a winter tree. I photographed the perfect tree during a visit to Newton, KS, this winter, and used that photo as a point of departure for this piece. The piece, a mixed-media collage using fabric, embroidery thread, and acrylic paint, is 2′ x 2′.

Art at the Percolator Gallery (Lawrence, KS)

I’m currently (through July 11, 2009) exhibiting art at the Percolator Gallery (913 Rhode Island, Lawrence, KS), as part of the group exhibit, “Signs of a New Apocalypse or Glimmers of a D.I.Y. Utopia.” The exhibit explores the future, bleak or bright, and everything in between, and is open on weekends, noon – 6 pm. For more details visit this lawrence.com article and the Percolater website.

Here is a new piece of mine in the show, called, “The Two Yolker (2008).” I’m also exhibiting “In Jamestown (2001),” and “Homeland Security (2006).”
The Two-Yolked Egg