Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm An Artist. Again.

So. Martha Marshall took me by my little hand almost 20 years ago when I announced that I wanted to 'do' an art show. I corraled her into doing this since, a: I'd never been in a real art show, and b: didn't know how to 'do' it, and c: had never been to art school, and d: passed along the fact that we all hang onto someone when we need to get our sea legs under us.

My sister, Linda clung onto me for balance at our tap dance lessons when we were gangly little girls, me only slightly more graceful and able to stand on my one leg while the other did a step-ball-chain. So. I clung onto Martha.

Now. That Martha consented to hit the ball and drag Fred with me is a-mazing in itself. She's like this world-class, very well known American artist who exemplifies hard work and success. The fact that she's been my friend for almost two decades makes me puff up big with pride. Google Martha Brooks Marshall or even just Martha Marshall and you'll see what I mean. Her works are all over the planet and she has at least a dozen shows and projects going on at any one time.

She's generous with more than just me. She mentors others about their art like a mother hen, pushing, coaxing, giving art supplies and instant support and tries to pass along what she's learned. She's no dilletante about that.

Okay. So almost 20 years ago, I decided I wanted to show what I call my Dream Coats. Back then, this title was exclusive to me and my work. Now, the phrase is kind of hackneyed. I could truly call mine Dream Coats because the ideas for them, nay, the entire design, color, writings and construction come to me in a 3-D, Panavision and Technicolor dream. If you're a past reader of my blog, you know that my dream life is very vivid, rich and detailed.

An alter personality I call Miss Lufthanza (because the 'voice' she uses in my dreams sounds very much like a stewardess on an International flight giving directions for the exit, fasten your seatbelt and no smoking signs), does a sort of drum roll in my sleeping brain and announces that I'm about to get instructions for a coat. I ignore many of these because there's just not enough time and material to make them all. As Martha says, "So much art, not enough lifetimes".

So. Lufthanza shows me in my dream mind a coat. I get to scan inside seams for construction details, the colors, materiels and then she gives me a counterpane that is mostly to go on a panel inside the back of the coat next to the wearer's back so it gets absorbed. The pockets turn inside out so I can see if anything is to be written there. All I have to do is wake up, sketch it, write it down and make it. As I said, many of them never get made. But I'd done a few and wanted Marty to show me how to get them out in the public to be seen.

Sometimes, there are moving parts and lights in them. One coat called "Paper Dolls with Bishop's Mitre" featured a photo of me in my underwear pushing a vacuum and several paper doll figures with various forms of women's roles - like a June Cleaver mother, Nun, School Girl, Las Vegas mannequin complete with crystal chandelier headdress, a pinup coming out of a cake all lit up with flashing lights, Maids, Teachers, Professional Call Girls -- you get the idea. There were also a pair of silicone breast implants next to a Frederick's of Hollywood ad for a padded butt enhancer.

I played "I want a Paper Doll" by the the Mills Brothers on a continuous loop and hung a purple and white Bishop's Mitre above the coat for the installation. It won best of show but was not allowed to travel with the rest of the art because it was considered too controversial. Secretaries are scary you know. Or maybe it was me in my underwear.

Another one is my signature piece. Called "Lotus Robe", it has 3 very detailed lotus blossoms petaled in 3-D parts with metal dew drops, crystal stamens and a stuffed fish in a pond in the train of the coat. Several other fishes are swim between the layers of the pond. The fact that this piece is brilliant shot violet and hot pink makes it one that you can't sneak around in. That one's won me lots of ribbons, money and has been worn on stage by director Anna Brennan, been the bride's coat at a wedding and has appeared at several operas. I have no idea where it is now. I'm hoping to find it in some of the mountains of fiber and trims I have here at Dog Patch.

I've since done many gallery shows, been invited by colleges and universities, even the State of Florida to participate in shows. Then I stopped. The reasons are too convoluted to explain here, but I've only made a very limited few since showtime. Most of them were for private collectors like hispanic artist Pedro Parra who wears his every year to the local gay film festival and other events. And Jan Roberts who heads up a national green movement owns one. Director/actor Anna Brennan finally got one of her own. My friend, Annie Shanahan owns the most of them and wears them around the house for empowerment. I'm willing her all the remaining coats because she loves them the most.

Now another flood of coats have come up and I can't ignore them. I applied to Gala Corina in Ybor. It's a very prestigious show and I knew that only the best of the best would be judged in. I've never been turned down for a judged show, but figured that this could be my first one since humility seems to be a theme in my life just now. Glory. I got in! They deposited my entry fee check and I'm a participant. I'm so excited I could pee my pants!!

I just started the first coat for the project this past weekend when I got notice. My coats are usually very attractive and it's only on closer inspection that you see the gaffs, barbs and uglies. This one is no different. If I can figure out how to get my camera loaded onto my new computer, I'll take a few photos for you to see as I construct it. It's called 'Swept Under'. When you see it, you'll know why.
(Note: The three coats above are construction pictures of "Elemental Fire", "Donatatus' Tragedia et Comedie", the the missing for now "Lotus Robe". My gallery pictures of the completed coats are buried on the hard drive of my defunct old computer.)

1 comment:

Martha Marshall said...

Thank you, friend, for the tribute. I cannot wait to see these new pieces!!!