Nilofer Merchant, author, speaker and a Silicon Valley dynamo purchased a little assemblage painting from me last year. Bliss has hung in her office across from her desk as a reminder that happiness is not all rainbows and kittens but has an edge to it too, and maybe in the end it means more if you have to work for it. But she spoke more eloquently about this when she blogged about it in Are You Experiencing Bliss?
I’ve known that she is quite the Wonder Woman for some time so when Good Housekeeping approached her for some photos of her inspirational mug (which ran in the Dec 2012 issue) I was only too happy to help out. It was then that we began sharing our other Wonder Woman bits and bobs. She had a box full of postcards depicting early WW comics and I had a little cropped photo I’d kept taken of a some street art in San Francisco from the late ’90s.
This was the seed of a fun, collaborative process that would lead to the commission of four new works based on the idea of owning one’s onlyness and the acquisition of three earlier works that fit into Nilofer’s vision. The result was a portrait of sorts, one in which individual pieces not only say their piece but come together and spark a conversation. It takes a vision and a curatorial eye, but surely this is an instance when more is more!
One of the first stars to echo the one on Wonder Woman’s tiara was the twinkle I placed in her eye.
Do It was inspired by those vintage Japanese match boxes from the deco period. I loved how the registration line was off either intentionally or by accident, either way, the black shadow line for the lips looks like a Nike symbol – hence “do it”, as if the ruby red lipstick wasn’t enough encouragement to kiss!
I love how the text balloons hover empty while the blacked out speak seems to implore one to break the silence. Pretty appropriate for a speaker!
The canvas edge doesn’t show a lot when these pieces are hung together but it makes for a great space to reinforce the playful graphics of the work. Kapow! was inspired by artist Harry G. Peter who’s original was for issue # 27, 1948. I fixed some metalic rope that was unearthed in a dig from Latvia and some Soviet military stars to reference the cold war sentiment behind much of the Wonder Woman comics – rebelling against the “evil power structure”.
Nilofer interviewed me about my process for this series and my thoughts on onlyness and how it relates to this project to art and to life. You can check out the interview on her blog post Unanswered Questions to Ponder.
Beautifully done! Good job to both you and your friend/client.
Thank you Raha! Nilofer is quite a collector of art, so it was an an honor to have her select and commission pieces! It’s fun to think these images may make their way to the TED stage one day and I hear they maybe traveling to Paris in the not so distant future!