Alison has been my muse for over 30 years now, even though she doesn’t know it. His happy pencils created !Good night by Alison! in a Millyard after-school program around 1990. I think I was the teacher, but now I’m not so sure. She was about 6 years old at the time of her masterpiece.
I have always kept !Good night by Alison! near my office. The green faces on the stars, the bright sun and the shaded clear pink sky remind me that creating things should be fun and that in the end we are that much closer to the next good night and therefore to the dawn of the next bright day.
Having fun and looking for the next dawn with joy are precious commodities these pandemic days.
His artwork went through four major moves, a divorce, the deaths of both my parents, and a second marriage to Lorrie, which saved my life.
Alison saw my interest in her work and, as children do, she readily offered it to me. Our conversation at the time went like this:
“My last name is Angelo,” I said. “Do you know who Michelangelo is? »
“Of course,” she answered without hesitation. “It’s one of the Ninja Turtles.”
Paraphrasing Elvis Costello’s 1977 hit song, later covered superbly by Linda Ronstadt: “Alison…Your pencils are just aiming.”
I hope you’re still making art, Alison. I hope the pandemic has not harmed you or those you love.
And do you need an agent?
The William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center on Douglas Street offers classes in coloring, acrylic painting, diamond art, and knitting and crocheting, according to Senior Services Specialist II Kim Drohan. She was supervising the coloring class the morning I checked on it. The class covers details and shading with crayons.
“We have about six people joining us now,” Drohan said, “But before Covid there were about 12.”
She patiently explained the art of the diamond to me. It basically involves gluing small colored beads onto paper or canvas. There are pre-patterns, independent of own design and outline or dense placements.
I could only think of the moment when my dentist said to me in a neutral tone: “You have great teeth”.
“I’ll trade them in for a smaller set on my next tour,” I replied.
I saw all those tiny colored beads and realized that my oversized 10 inches would have to be swapped out first before I could start working on a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel.
The center chooses a charity each year to send its knitting and crochet work to. This year they sent several hundred pieces to the Salvation Army. It’s a lot of art.
About five years ago I started cutting tiles hoping to create bird baths, garden stones, mirror frames and a mosaic mobile that I could drive around town and do tell people, “Wow! He ruined a perfectly good car.
I found cutting tiles to uniformity required more than a pair of freed-up dental clippers. It took a skill saw, a guillotine, small explosive charges and a breeder reactor. I was quick to sell shards.
When my ten inches got in the way again, and I’m thankful I still have ten, an idea came to me as I was wading through the junk in my basement… Found and Used Art Creations ! Put my OCD to work!
This was a few months after the first descent into Covid timeout. Lorrie and I have been walking around and with a car for 20 years, I’ve always ripped metal off the roads while biking, saving flat tires while building up an inventory of all sorts of found stuff otherwise known as of scrap.
I start with a found piece of wood and work a theme around it. “Nothing Happens” lent itself to a town on a hill, from which Snow White would have to be saved if she were to return to Disneyworld to sell soft drinks and fries. My friend Claudette watched the whole thing and titled it “When shit hits the fan”.
Hit. Consider the emotional audience.
My love of literature then made me dream of more complex dioramas. How about mixing Moby-Dick with Jaws? Grapes of Wrath with Talladega Nights? Custer died for your sins with Little big man?
It was still the wood that made the decision. After Lorrie set fire to a cutting board on a stove burner and placed it on our porch for a time out, I knew I had to find some purpose for it. What you see is Oila! the climax of Gatsby the magnificent. Daisy rammed into Myrtle Wilson, who she suspected her husband Tom was having an affair with. Gatsby, because he loves Daisy, told the cops he was driving. Myrtle’s husband, George, then kills Gatsby.
All my gatsby is 4 feet long and stretches geographically from Manhattan to the east and west egg of Long Island. The Blue Covid masks were perfect for the bay. It took me about 20 hours of unbridled youthful labor.
1980s Homie figurines add just enough humor to keep interest going. Narrator Nick Carraway, the only pure character in the book, is played by a Homie ice cream vendor in white. As he says, “I’m one of the few honest people I’ve ever known.”
I fix temporarily gatsby on our dining room table, but I would like to find an English teacher to lend it to.
The next step is House-Five Slaughter. Finding an old pizza stone at a thrift store was the start. Adding two more, I now have the three basics of time travel at the heart of the novel. The present is Illium vanilla-plain, New York. The past is Dresden, Germany during the horrific firebombing of February 1945. The future is protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s Happy Place in a dome on the planet Tralfamadore with missing Hollywood starlet Montana Wildhack.
Slaughterhouse-Five Author Kurt Vonnegut has been rightly accused of living on the edge of dark humor.
If you’re out there Alison, this diorama is going to need your happy crayons.