Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Investigative Art

"Can You Hear the Footsteps?"

detail of tags on base
detail of top
first step in making the tags- smoked edges on a candle

2nd step of making the top part-adding wax to the collage

1st step of making the top-attaching the metal stand to the tin with
Dap Quick Seal Plus
and adding alcohol inks to the metal.
It all started with a wooden clothes hanger that my husband gave me to do something with. I said "were did this come from?" He said I think it was my dad's he must have stayed there sometime in the 50's or 60's. So this hanger has been hanging (no pun intended) around my studio for about 6 months or more. I found these old wooden shoe inserts at a thrift store and hung them on the hanger in my closet. Then one day I found this wreath hanger that I thought would be perfect for hanging the hanger on. I was thinking that this was going to be called "These shoes are made for walking" and it would be about the traveling salesman of a byegone era and his pounding the pavement looking for a sale.

I created the top part of the sculpture by collaging a tin box with a photo of an old typewriter keyboard, then added wax chunks and melted them 1/2 way to look like ice cubes, cause after a day of walking in Tuscon AZ, you would need to cool off. The frame for the top part is an old art deco light switch plate. The metal wreath stand is mounted on top of a carved wooden thing I found. The piece still seemed like it needed something. So I thought I'd google the hotel and see what I could find out. Was I in for a shock. The Tuscon AZ, Pioneer Hotel was the scene of a 2.5 million $ fire in Dec. 1970, started by a 16 year old arson. 28 people died in that blaze including the 82 year old builder of the hotel who lived in the penthouse with his wife. In 1977 the building was renovated and turned into offices.

The office building is now thought to have paranormal activity. The experiences in that building have been indicative of a residual haunting, or the playback of a recording of a past traumatic event such as the sound of running footsteps when no one is around. Perhaps the Pioneer building itself is replaying the events from the night of the fire. So needless to say this completely changed the focus of my piece. Somehow I had to honor the lives lost in that fire. I found the roster of those that had died in the fire and attached their information to tags that I distressed by burning the edges. Those tags are tied around the base of the sculpture. The ice now stands for the ice needed to cool the firefighters. The new name for the piece is: "Can You Hear the Footsteps?"


marianne said...

great story.... and nice job of homoring those folks- amazing how it all comes together sometimes, isn't it?

marianne said...

hi pam- it was great to see you today! i have an award (should you choose to deal) for you on my blog....

LA Smith said...

Wow! Great piece and a great post!

Marit said...

Your piece of art is wonderful in itself, but after reading the story it totally came to life! Fabulous!

Kim Henkel said...

wonderful piece and wonderful story!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

This is an amazing assemblage, but the back story really brings it to life. How wonderful. I'm off to check out the rest of your blog.