Monday, April 07, 2008

Mother of the Other

Since "Breaking Bad" is in reruns, I'm painting tonight. And going through my clip file, I discovered this blast from the past.
This mural is the largest painting I've executed to date. It was never titled, but I'm posthumously saddling it with the name "Mother of the Other," which if my beer-addled brain serves me right, kind of sums up the gist of what I was shooting for.
I was never completely happy with this piece. It was intended to be a basis for a "free-wall" during Freak-Fest, a neighborhood arts festival held in downtown Little Rock, on what ended up being the hottest day of the year. In fact on that particular July Saturday in 1995, Little Rock racked up the highest temperature in the nation. And that's not taking into account the humidity...
Anyway, my intention with the piece was to provide a basis for the artistic additions of whoever decided to slap paint to bricks. The wall was at that time the property of Dottie Oliver, publisher of the Little Rock Free Press, and she'd volunteered it for the festival. As the coordinator of artistic affairs for the festival, I'd hoped that by giving the graffiti wall an underlying skeleton, the chaos of hundreds of various artistic visions might end up being something worth looking at.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Dottie loved my under painting so much that she didn't want anyone painting on top of it. The free-form graffiti ended up taking place on a donated VW Westfalia van.
This always bothered me a little bit, because well if I'd known I was doing a solo wall mural, I would have put a little more effort into it. So it goes, I suppose.
I suppose I should mention at this point that the paint for this piece was graciously supplied by Golden Artist Colors. Of course I would have used Golden anyway for this, as acrylic is the most suitable medium for outdoor murals, and well, Golden makes the best acrylics. Which makes sense when you realize that the late Sam Golden, along with his uncle Leonard Bocour, helped invent artists acrylics.
History of artist's materials aside, in hindsight, I'm fond of this mural. It melds several layers of my visual thinking from this time period. I'm hesitant to drain what little mystery the piece may have by over-explaining it, so I'll just leave it as a meditation on the other, the alien, and female fertility. In other words, the Mother of the Other.
This mural was on a wall near 7th and Izard in downtown Little Rock. I'd be extremely grateful if any of my Little Rocker readers could let me know if it still exists. Iain de Sane, I'm looking at you.

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