Monday, June 25, 2012

Beatles Baton

The top of the Beatles Baton

The bottom of the Beatles Baton
The whole Beatles Baton

The theme for the June 23, 2012 ARTcrawl was Stuart Sutcliffe of The Beatles. Stuart Sutcliffe left the band to pursue an art career, just before The Beatles became famous.  He is sometimes known as The Lost Beatle.

When we choose the date of an ARTcrawl, we research and find an artist who either was born on or died on that date, and then we create a theme.  As I found out, the story of Lost Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe is fascinating and tragic. 

According to Wikipedia, Stuart was born on June 23rd, 1940, and died on April 10, 1962.  When The Beatles played in Hamburg, he met photographer Astrid Kirchherr, to whom he was later engaged. After leaving The Beatles, he enrolled in the Hamburg College of Art, studying under future pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi, who later wrote a report stating that Sutcliffe was one of his best students. Sutcliffe earned other praise for his paintings, which mostly explored a style related to abstract expressionism.  While in studying in Germany, Sutcliffe began experiencing severe headaches and acute sensitivity to light. In 1962, he collapsed in the middle of an art class after complaining of head pains. German doctors performed various checks on him, but were unable to determine exactly what was causing the headaches. On 10 April 1962, he was taken to hospital, but died in the ambulance (in Astrid's arms) on the way.  He was only 21.

For each ARTcrawl, I make the baton that the Parade Master uses to lead the parade down King Street.  The above picture is the top of the Beatles Baton.  As per my usual style, it is rife with symbols.

The baby's head and little green cars at the top of the baton is a reference to "Baby, You Can Drive My Car".  The number 8 is for "Eight Days a Week".  The beetle is my play on Beatle, and it is playing a guitar with a hand, a reference to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".  LOVE is for "Love Me Do".  The green leaves make the baton look like a flower, my reference to the Flower Child movement, and the baton is the length of a guitar.  The heart-shaped box that the beetle is in is a reference to "All You Need Is Love".  I also glued a British Penny on the stalk for "Penny Lane" and "Baby, You're a Rich Man", and a sun bracelet for "Here Comes the Sun" and "Good Day Sunshine".

A good time was had by all!  The ARTcrawl started at ARTspace and ended up at the Thames Art Gallery, as always.  This time, however, it was MY show, Sacred & Profane, at the Thames Art Gallery (Mezzanine).  See my previous post.

Most of my ARTcrawl Batons are either sold or given as gifts.  I'm going to keep this one for myself, as it will always represent the ARTcrawl where I was actually one of the celebrated artists.

S&P Show!

Me.  Nervous.
The beginning of the long wall in the Mezzanine at the Thames Art Gallery.
The end of the long wall in the Mezzanine of the Thames Art Gallery.
The end of Sacred & Profane (black wall).

Me, Betty, & Curator Carl on opening night

Sacred & Profane at the Thames Art Gallery was a success!  Betty arrived from North Bay about two minutes before she and I were to make our speeches.  As my mom might say, Betty arrived by the skin of her teeth!

Our speeches were short, but we both acknowledged this fantastic opportunity to show our work together.  We are the only two shadowbox artists we know.  She brought me a box of little treasures for future shadowboxes.  I was very touched by the gesture.  I'm going to reciprocate by sending her a stash when her work goes back up to North Bay. 

Thank you to Carl Lavoy of the Thames Art Gallery, who believed that I should have a show long before I believed I should have a show.  Thank you to the late Laurie Clifford, a tireless Arts Supporter, who bought my very first shadowbox, 1914.  Thank you to Dr. Lorenzo Buj for writing such a fantastic (and somewhat controversial!) essay for my publication.  And I am eternally grateful to Betty Sager, who makes me feel like we have our own Shadowbox Tribe.