Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A Tale of Two And A Half Cities
The title is a big exaggeration because the half part isn't even close. It's not half a city and I don't even think it's really a village but that's what they call it, Henderson Village. Straight off the website: Henderson Village is a collection of 19th century homes and cottages situated on 18 bucolic acres in the heart of Central Georgia and located at what was once a thriving stagecoach intersection. So there you go. If you didn't get enough bucolic in my last post I've got still more. This was actually one of my most interesting commissions, another Amelia Handegan job.
I painted three separate installations for Henderson Village. Wait, actually, I created two works while the third was not specifically created for Amelia's project. She bought a series of four canvases right out of my studio that just happened to work for what she had in mind. I think it was kind of a brilliant move on her part because it saves the village from being too cloying, too period. My canvases are abstracts but they call to mind the wrought iron farm implements found in this farm country setting. Rather than iron the images are based on fabric trims from the 19th century but in this case scaled up, way up. It's not important to know that. They're just nice pictures to look at while you're getting looped in the lounge.
Later I took this same idea and proposed it for a Bamo project, a restaurant in Santiago. So that's the first city from the title. I distinctly remember the meeting where I presented my idea to the developer in the Bamo offices. The client was an international playboy, (no joke), who had flown in with an entourage to see me. Actually it wasn't just to see me but believe me it was intimating. I didn't have a big presentation. I relied primarily on my little foam core mounted illustrations to do the talking. They looked so small that after I pinned them up Pamela Babey nervously got up and explained that these weren't it. This was just a maquette. The Playboy and his entourage chatted in French and Farsi and maybe some other language while Pamela, the Bamo gang, and I were left wondering what they thought. The verdict: they loved it and so I did an even larger scaled up version of the fabric trim for Matsuri restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Resort, Santiago.
At least ten years later and I am revisiting the same idea for city number two, Las Vegas. Actually this is sort of a city within a city called City Center. I recreated the curvaceous abstract with a little gold and silver thrown in for the residences at the Mandarin Oriental. This commission came through just before the crash. I shouldn't write crash but you know, economic slow down, or whatever. Fortunately the budget had already been set for the art which also includes Maya Lin, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, a few others and me, all represented at City Center. So from down on the farm to Las Vegas. Who would have thunk it? Not me.