A recent review of my files reminded me of commissions past. As a young artist in Burlington, VT, much of how I built my experience and portfolio was taking commissions. Each one helped me gain skills and, through a research process introduced to me at my alma mater Parsons School of Design, I "got into it," as they say… (& forgive me, libraries, for keeping a few books too long!)
Here is La Llorona, a tribute to the Mexican-American folklore character, so rich in history. The beautiful cultures of the different regions where the story has been told & retold, came vividly to life for me as I read tragic accounts of colonization, communities ripped apart by violence, and then incredible strength and survival. So much inspiration came from the works of Latin American artists and artisans (quite diverse in nature!), and the peoples themselves who have forged beautiful ways of life together, in spite of all obstacles & suffering. The story of the Weeping Woman took on more and more meaning, which I hoped to convey in the work. Both images below were displayed in UVM's exhibit for Día de los Muertos (2011). I felt priviledged to be a part of it - thank you to Tomas Sanchez for this opportunity!
And the Garamon commission (2012), which brought new meaning to the phrase “post-war experience.” It was never a question in my mind that the atomic bomb did enormous damage, but it wasn’t until I studied this Japanese TV/Animated character (kaiju) that began as a 60’s TV series, that I understood what sorts of feelings can be evoked, and how long-lasting they are, after something so devastating. While Garamon first seemed like a simple “monster-that-destroys-a-city”, I quickly realized that he was quite a complex figure, in a time when people were still trying to understand & express the gravity of what had happened to them in the war. And his creator had used him as a symbol of the atomic bomb – a giant destructive force that arrives unannounced to wreak havoc on innocent inhabitants. Garamon in and of himself is somewhat adorable – a bit awkward in his movements and covered with leaves(!). But in his wake is always some sort of chaos. He has been such a beloved character worldwide that after 50+ years, he is still going! I researched the development of the bomb, the war and post-war experience to prepare and create the work. A great lesson in how art can help a society to heal <3Thanks to Michael Nordstrom of VT & his blog Garamania for this great learning experience!