Or as my dear friend Jan Viramontes calls them, Cows.
I became interested in petroglyphs 15 years ago or more. Around the same time I discovered Joseph Campbell, someone who has had increasing influence on me over the years. Campbell made some very compelling comments about ancient shamans being some of the first artists, asserting that in the modern world, artists are the ones who communicate our myths for us, interpreting the unseen (more on this in another blog post, one of these days).
So, petroglyphs + shamans. We also started going to Sedona, AZ quite a bit where I was introduced to the art of Bill Worrell which definitely had an influence on what was to follow. All of that culminated in a series of work I called ‘ghostyheads’. This was the beginning of both the figurative / anthropomorphic art that I make today. It was also my first foray into what my friend Bruce Adams (owner and editor of the Santa Fean art magazine) has called ‘high craft’ art.
These pieces took a very long time to make; I paid a lot of attention to detail, to “learning my craft” if you will. There are something like 25 steps involved in making the Ghostyheads. It took until the 4th round of making these to get what I had in my head to be a reality. The first 2 pieces in the Ghostyhead gallery section are v4, the remaining four pieces are v5. The majority of the work is ceramic, including the hand carved skulls and antlers. The arms and bracelets are bronze, cast by a friend of mine from clay originals. The various ‘panels’ in the ‘vests’ are made of polymer clay with classic petroglyph images drawn with some very colorful gel pens. The glass mosaic is a technique I learned from my artist wife – broken safety glass glued on top of an underlying design and then grouted. Marsha (the aforementioned wife) refers to these pieces as ‘Skulls and Skirts.’ Funny lady.
All the pieces in this series are 18-20″ tall and 12-14″ wide.