Friday, March 12, 2010

In the EYE of the beholder

I tend to see art in things not ordinarily associated with museum finery. For the experts, artwork is so often relegated to one of two extremes - the works of age old Masters, or the follies of the insane. The latter, can also most often apply, to the purchasers of said objet d’ art, which have been randomly crafted by elephants, dogs, and various monkey-sized animals.

But for the rest of us, most art is simply defined as an expression of ‘like or dislike'. We really do not care who made it, the materials involved, or how much time it took to fashion. When I was younger, and had a child running free through the house, it became necessary to call an agency to hire a Nanny. After numerous required reviews and interviews, a caregiver named Yola came to assist in the day to day. Living in California, most folks who enter this profession are both of Mexican heritage and of the Catholic religion. So, in an effort to honor both Yola’s interest in religion and my own affinity for the arts, one night I stayed up late to make her a gift of religious significance.

No, I was not expert enough to work in clay nor did I have the steady hand required for colored pencils. Instead my medium of choice was 'Dryer Lint'. I would run small loads of darks, lights, and reds in the dryer to construct a rather varied pallete of earth tones for my project. Then with whetted fingers, I gently would push, prod ,and cajole the layers of matted lint into the recognizable form of Jesus’s head.

Amazingly the project did not take long, however the colors of lint mostly mixed together into a distinct shade of gray mud. Still I was proud of my creation as the head’s shape, facial hair, and crown of thorns were readily discernable and oddly attractive. The head was basically in two dimensions but had over a half inch of relief elevation so I used spray adhesive to bind the lint fibers together. Just for good measure, and to make it uniquely classy like myself, I topped it all off with an ever-so-light coating of spray-on glitter.

Needless to say, Yola loved the linty little head even more than I did. For nearly 8 years, Jesus in all his glittery glory greeted me ‘eye to eye’ whenever I ventured a knock at our Nanny’s door. You know, this really has got me thinking. I wonder what OTHER kinds of art the CAT can make using litter … and oh yeah - a bit of glitter?

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