James and I given were the opportunity to participate in an installation with other artists in our community for the Dia de Los muertos event at Magoski Art Colony in Downtown Fullerton, on Friday, November 1, 2013.
We were invited to creat a small box or two that “tells a brief story or gives a hint about who you are and what you would want others to know about you… before you leave the planet.”
They would then be arranged together in a columbarium – traditionally a room of small alcoves with containers holding the ashes of the dead. The containers are called nichos – a cigar box or similar sized item was the suggested dimension.
I love the idea of working within a finite three dimensional space; and many of the favorite pieces that I’ve made have been based around boxes. There were several things I wanted it to include:
My font is a lettering scheme I designed in the late 90s named Cutspark, after my online name. Inspired by the beauty of Sanskrit, it deconstructs our modern Latin alphabet – looking futuristic and extraterrestrial, while echoing the ancient cuneiform scripts found on tablets from early civilization.
There are three versions: street, cursive and outline. I primarily used the simplified “street” version of my font for the bulk of the writing, and the decorative “cursive” version to adorn the box lid.
Light is magical. It’s non-physical, yet adds dimension. I was highly inspired by the artist James Turell’s work with light. In this case, the contents of the nicho is like a little glowing piece of me. When opened, illumination spills out, indicating the contents is a treasure.
In anticipation of working with light in such a small space, I felt it was high time I learned how to solder my very own LED battery pack. Finally, in control of the light source, brightness, placement, etc I gained the freedom to utilize the space as I pleased.
Gold is the color of what is valuable. It is purity, warmth, and light. Ancient Pharos were entombed in sarcophaguses of gold, and so would be my nicho.
Red and black, powerful colors unto themselves, were used as accent colors.
Transparent and semitransparent materials were used to create a sense of three dimensionality, another theme I like to use in my artwork. I enjoy using paper as a writing surface, texture, and light diffuser.
Myths are a window into the ancient cultures that created them, and into the human condition. Greek mythology holds a special place in my heart because of its drama, character flaws, and god on human interaction. What I love to do with myth is swap the place of the protagonist with the antagonist.
In the original myth of “Pandora’s Box”, Pandora is a pawn in Zeus’s plan to punish Prometheus for bringing fire to humans. But she ends up being a much bigger player, and is forever viewed as the bringer of sorrows, and evils to humankind.
I have reworked the myth of Pandora. A condensed version is written in cursive and my own font, and placed within the box.
I am the Devine mold of earth and water, infused with voice and strength; my face like that of a goddess; figure deftly shaped, strong and beautiful.
I am the tapestry of woman’s skill, woven with threads of craft, cooking, home and hearth; Artemis’ hunting, Athena’s logic, and all the learned arts.
I am elegance and grace; alluring and bold; and ever so curious. I am designed to be that which all love. I am Pandora, the combined artistry and talent of all the Gods.
And I am to be the undoing of Prometheus, the fire bringer.
This is what I know of my creation, as you know of what my future is to be. I am much more than the Sky Father’s pawn, a mask for his wickedness. Though my fate is sealed, I can tell you the truth of Hope.
Before it was named, Hope manifested from my own consciousness; a tiny sleeping cocoon deep within me. I placed it into the box, after all those terrible things escaped, and used the god’s magic within to define it. Surely this could be done, as the gods defined me from simple earth and water.
By the same logic of my creation, that which is defined by the gods, must then be named by the gods to be wholly formed. My Hope, that was given shape, was then named by my Titan husband and the transformation was complete. Hope lavished across the world, like cooling water to soothe the scorching horrors and despair released from the box.
That is my legacy. I am Pandora, I am human, and I brought Hope to the world.
Come out and see the show!
Friday November 1, 2013
Located at The Magoski Arts Colony
223 W. Santa Fe.