When Spencer Dormitzer at the Smith Healing Center reached out and asked if I’d be interested in participating in this show (OF COURSE I AM), my mind immediately went to Prince. He had a profound influence on me while I was an undergraduate music student in college. While researching Steve Vai for my senior thesis, I read an interview where Vai said that he’d love to work with Prince. I began to investigate Prince’s music more deeply. I knew the hits, of course, and I’ve watched Under the Cherry Moon more times than I’d like to admit. I was soon influenced by his song writing and his presence in his own music. I loved his ability to flawlessly produce recordings where he played most (all) of the instruments. Sign o’ the Times was my particular favorite. And I love that Prince rejected the music industry as it used to be, and did things his own way.
I do not want to bring Prince into my Art.
I know the work of Bowie from MTV, radio and years as a music buyer. I cannot admit to ever being a big fan, though. Don’t get me wrong, I do not dislike his music. Not at all. But, I’ve also never been particularly drawn to him. I loved the TV Christmas duet he performed with Bing Crosby. And, I remember my college roommate played the catchy Never Let Me Down endlessly.
But as I cast my thoughts back the MTV, I remembered “Ashes to Ashes.” According to Wikipedia, It was the lead single from the 1980 album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) and became Bowie’s second UK No. 1 single. It is also known for its innovative video, directed by Bowie and David Mallet, which at the time was the most expensive music video ever made.
His portrayal of Pierrot in the video strongly reminds me of a stuffed toy I carried around as a toddler. I think my grandfather gave it to me. It’s one that I’ve drawn several times and that I clearly remember. It made sense to bring that figure in my current work at this time.
I can also say, now, that Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) has made it’s way into rotation in my studio.
So, that’s the story about this show – and here is my piece, Ashes to Ashes.
And I quote: “Wonder Commons presents Diorama-Rama Deux, a celebration of creative storytelling inside the box. Join us in our second year as we compete for awards and celebrate what can be seen through the miniature. Introductory Diorama demonstration by artist Jim Doran.”
So, I set some of my work out and talked with folks about Diorama-ing.
I quickly put together a zine about some of my work.
This event is put on by Wonder Commons – Robert Marbury and his wife Alix Fenhagen.
The theme was “March Madness,” which has something to do with baseball or something. I made two dioramas that are NOT paper cut-outs.
I get a mild form of madness called SPRING FEVER. Perhaps you’ve heard of it – it doesn’t help that, after days of glorious weather, it snowed yesterday.
And here’s part two, which has EVERYTHING to do with baseball:
Please notice that the trophy has two baseball bats AND two cups on top.
This is a smart, fun (and amusing) event. I saw a lot of the same faces from last year’s event, and a few new ones. NEXT YEAR, we are going to have a “make your own diorama session” before the judging kicks off, and I have offered to help people realize their own diorama-rama-ness.
All of the entries were great – here are a few more:
Keep an eye out for next year’s Diorama-rama, and come!
“The definition of alchemy is to transform something toxic into an illuminated substance, which why we ask each artist to transform a cigar box by means of his or her own personal aesthetic and medium—taking a box that would be normally filled with a polarizing object as a cigar and creating an alchemical vessel, an original piece of artwork in order to benefit the Smith Center’s cancer support programs. We hope you will join our efforts in realizing this community-building art exhibition and benefit to support our important work with cancer patients, their caregivers, and veterans.”
As a prompt, artists were encouraged to answer the following 3 questions (either with a partner, or alone). Here they are, if you’d like to follow along at home:
What is one of the most difficult things you have ever had to go through (Feel free to tell as much or as little of details as you want. But reflect on what was challenging about the situation.)
What helped you get through that? What did you draw on (friends, family, spiritual practices, God, nutrition, silence, intuition, ……etc)?
How does getting through that inform or affect the way you live your life now?
The ladder is made from a coffee stirrer.
I spent a couple of days answering these questions and came up with “Out of the Woods,” a diorama containing several of my own alchemic symbols relating to the healing power of making art. And this is the first time I’ve made a diorama in a cigar box.
March 18 – May 6, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, March 18, 7–9pm
Artists’ Closing Reception: Friday, May 6, 7–9pm
I’m very excited to say that I’ll be part of The Dark Artisans’ Bazaar at this year’s Death Salon, which takes place at the Mütter Museum! I’ll have a table with a lot of art and some new surprises. The Death Salon will take place on October 5 & 6, 2015.
The Mütter is located at:
19 S 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The museum itself is fascinating, as is the history of the founder. I had a private tour of the bone room and wet specimen room, and while it’s not a huge place, I want to go back and study the exhibits. There is a great Vesalius exhibit, the wall of 139 skulls and the Soap Lady. A huge amount to read and study.
I love the talks, the people and the Museum. I am very grateful I had the chance to be a part of this.
Artscape usually happens over the hottest weekend of the year, and 2015 was no exception. Leezle and I headed downtown in the late afternoon. We enjoyed limeade, people watching and the air conditioning of the Ebb & Flow exhibit, where Drink Like a Fish can be seen.