Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New Work: Walking in Memphis (Blue Suede Shoes)

Walking in Memphis (Blue Suede Shoes)
 painted acrylic paper collage 14" x 18"
For awhile there in my early twenties, I was an X Files junkie. My favorite episodes were what I call "standalone" episodes: those that had nothing to do with aliens and conspiracies, Scully's abduction or the never ending search for Mulder's sister. These episodes are the best because they capture a solid, finite idea and can be digested fully in the space of an hour. Such is the case with this episode, The Post Modern Prometheus. It is also a novelty because it is filmed in black and white, drawing on the monster movies of the 1930's for the film noir aspect of things as well as the telling of the Frankenstein story, both the film version as well as Mary Shelley's original version. 

The title of my piece references the song, Walking in Memphis, originally written and sung by Marc Cohn.  The X-Files episode's closing scene features a Cher impersonator singing this song. (It's a great closing scene, btw, and one of the real reasons I love this episode.)  I didn't know anything about Marc Cohn actually so I read up on him via Wikipedia. The article is worth a read because his search for a hit song, which takes him to Memphis, is a great instance of the randomness and the pulling together of threads that exemplifies the creative process for me. I have never found an answer for what to paint or do creatively when I was directly looking for that answer. The solutions have always come to me in the form of other experiences, often that have nothing to do with art making. Stephen King talks a lot about this in his book, On Writing. For the most part, the ideas for his books don't arrive in his mind fully formed. They are snippets of experiences and thoughts gathered together over a period of time, often unrelated, but pulled together loosely to form an idea or really, a question: what if? I find that my work evolves in the same way, roughly.

The above piece started with the idea of blue suede shoes, referencing Elvis I guess.  I wanted to add the shoes, which turned into boots, but still didn't know if the piece would be about anything. As I worked, I added some shapes here and there which eventually coalesced into some definite imagery for me. The green triangle shapes are the grasses in Memphis, the red bridge shape with the water exemplifies the general flooding that takes place in that area of the country, and I added the blue "propeller" to signify a flying plane. (Listen to the song I guess or read the lyrics.) I added the orange grid because I like grids but it could also stand for the layout of city streets. And lastly, I added the circular shape with a kind of golden "crown." (Elvis was The King, afterall.)

None of the above was planned, mind you, but came together as I worked. I just pulled random things out of my hat, so to speak, which is what happens for me (and others I suspect) during the "creative process." Had I set out to make an Elvis themed piece or an X Files piece, I would still be staring at a blank piece of paper. I couldn't do it. In any case, I am happy with the above results and at the end of the day that is all I care about.

Hope all is well with anyone reading. No snow here in my little town as predicted but that is OK with me! Thanks for reading and commenting.
Libby

4 comments:

  1. It’s a beauty Libby! With or without the story. There’s a great sense of motion.

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    1. Thanks, Randall! I am always happy when you see the work as having something positive happening. I feel like the last couple of pieces come together in a way that I want. So, good news there I think.

      Thank you for your comments. They are always appreciated!
      Libby

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  2. Libby what a superb work...amazing how this whole painting developed. The movement of colors and design keeps my eye circling and then finding something new and exciting like the pin dots spaced around. As always such a delight to see what you are painting. Take care and have a great day. Hugs!

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    1. Debbie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. This was one of those pieces that thankfully developed a storyline of sorts while I was working. They don't all do that so this time it was a kind of gift:)

      Hope you are doing well. It's been raining here quite a bit. Getting the ark ready...
      Libby

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! I reply back in an email if you are signed in and I can see your address. Otherwise I will post the reply here under your comment. I tend to cut and paste my emails too so that others can experience the back and forth which I think is integral to blogging.
Libby