I recently refurbished a painting that didn’t work out for a birthday gift. It was a wedding gift for some good friends here in Berlin.
They are that quintessential Romantic couple – meeting each other in a distant land far from home and then coming together inseparable to build a new life together on new Manifest Destiny soil with their hearts on their sleeves and a pocket full of dreams.
I am a king of deconstructed work and in my painting I like to create “exercises for the eyes” by using 3-D layering of texture through multimedia.
This particular piece entitled “Alt, Neue…Blau” is a play on the Western tradition of marriage innuendo “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
The personal message is not only in the painting but also in the title. Translated from German: alt = old, neue = new, blau = blue.
The found objects represent the old, creating a history of unknown stories of the past with the hopes of creating a better future, always and forever.
In the piece there is a new nail file – an inside joke in more than one way, duly recognized in my conversations with my friend (the bride who I met during an acting gig) in regards to the simple and luxurious things in life; in the commonplace abject poverty of artists in Berlin, simple things like giving yourself a manicure are not so simple considering fiscal woes (alcohol, cigarettes and food take precedence, respectively). We frequently discuss the time that will come for reckless abandon like we enveloped ourselves in back in the USA, where money was an object to be latently infatuated with and less respected due to its abundance we afforded in our time living in the Capitalist capital of the world.
There is an ellipsis representing “borrowed”; the reason is twofold. First, I don’t know the word in German, so in part it is a joke about the language barrier here in Berlin. Also it is a reference to the great debt to which I owe my dearest friend for her constant compassion during my tumultuous times in Berlin. So it is a black comedy joke of an empty space of having not yet returned what was borrowed and in turn not having to mention it due to the depth and pith of our friendship.
The last bit – the blue/blau – is a play on words. In German, blau is also a word to describe being drunk. This is just a funny thing because I did not want to be so much literal as literary, and vicariously, our wonderful rendezvous are usually accompanied by a bottle of wine.
This painting contains several elements including acrylic, oil pastel, and a watered down version of encaustic – much of the original painting that was done in colored pencil and markers bled into the layers and created the visual effect I wanted to achieve. The metal ornament is primarily decorative but hints at the hardcore endurance of love, and I threw some rice onto the canvas to also reference matrimony.
All in all, I wanted to give the cutest couple in Berlin an expression of my admiration and awe of their love, and also to give them something to complement their chic decor and invigorating art collection.