If you’ve glanced at our front page, are on our AOTD mailing list, or get our AOTD via feed or Google Gadget, you’ve likely already seen today’s brilliant Art of the Day piece, “Daphne” by New York artist (and longtime EBSQ’er) John Borerro. John was delighted to see his work selected for today’s Art of the Day and shared the following story about her on our forums. With his permission, we’re sharing it here for you as well!
There is actually more to the story of Daphne. Daphne is one of the only pieces I’ve ever done twice, because I was so enamored with the story. You ever do that? You make a piece, and then years later you look back and think “I’d like to do that piece again, knowing what I know now…” so that’s what I did. When I first made a Daphne years ago, I wasn’t comfortable enough with my own work to make free standing pieces. Once that changed, she was one of the first ones I wanted to try. Still, she took waaaaay long to make.
And then I took her to the ACC Baltimore show and she was adopted by a lovely woman in Virginia, who took me to her house and had me help her decide where it should go in her home. (I had been asked to do this once before, and I really like this, actually… ) Then while I was there, I got to look around and see that her house was basically a museum. She had hundreds of pieces of art in her home. She said that she wasn’t leaving money for her family, but that she had decided that art would be what she left behind for her loved ones when she passed away.
So, Daphne is in Virginia, on the countryside, sitting in this giant picture window overlooking a bay… where she will hopefully be until she is passed on.
This month’s featured gallery is Assemblages and Mixed Media. It is arguably the most unique and diverse gallery at EBSQ. Throughout May, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of our artists who drawn to create with a variety of materials.
What I enjoy most about making art from found objects is the moment of recognition… the “a-ha” moment of coming across a piece of metal or fabric and recognizing that it is not just an umbrella… but a flowing gown. And, not just a flowing gown, but the gown of a goddess.
A piece of mine that really speaks to this process is Nike, a mixed media sculpture that I completed about two years back. This piece began with a walk on the beach and a charred piece of driftwood, which forms the base at the center of the sculpture. When I found it, I thought it looked like a person standing upright. The top of that remnant wood is what you see as her chest. And, so she began.
Her gown is an old umbrella, with her shoulders and neck made from old fixtures that I’ve found on walks over the years. (I do my part to keep NYC streets clean!) The base is the top of an old copper tea kettle. Next came the face and doll parts, which I thought both gave her dignity… a sense of being strong and composed. Then came the wings. That was new for me, andf this was my first piece to utilize actual wings (although not my last).
On one of my regular junk shop runs, I was approached by the proprietor about a taxidermy bird. Ordinarily, I would not have shown any interest, and in truth, I had no interest. Yet. It had become a routine of hers to gather the crooked, rusty, broken and clunky items and push them towards me on my visits, knowing that I had a soft spot for all things old and unsellable. She said that this duck had been sitting on this shelf for over 7 years, and that it was much older than that. She was ready to just throw it away.
Something in her words resonated for me (which I believe was her plan) and I took a good first real look at it. In truth, it was beautiful. But it wasn’t just its beauty that struck me. Its usefulness has passed. Seven years. No one wanted it.
I took it, turned it around in my hands, brushed some dust off of the wings and said (mostly to the bird) “so, how would you like to be a goddess?”