Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Dinner with a Super Model!

How does an unknown Virginia-based artist end up having dinner with a super model 
and her boyfriend at Cipriani in New York City?
Faire* question.

Answer: Kismet
and to modernize this charming word in familiar terms - FATE.
But, let's also recognize the significance of the internet in this story.

Some time in 2010, yours truly perused the Neiman Marcus fall catalog. Came across a photo of a beautiful young lady and ripped it out. 
Put it in a drawer full of inspiration - magazine pages, photographs, and many other images. Popular culture, fashion, beauty - yes, these are my references. It might not be an accepted or respected resource material, but it's my artistic vision to recreate one image of beauty from another:

"My work reflects our society's obsession with beauty through advertising - and the endless images that bombard us daily. It is a purposeful intermix of images derived from advertising and thousands of incongruent pieces - images and text - from advertising that arrives through my mailbox. Assembled like a mosaic; the junk mail paper tiles create an entirely new image - an eclectic and tactile portrait reworked in my imagination, utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste."

At the right moment, I pulled out that photo and created a painting on canvas. The image is a jumping-off point. It is only a sketch, and then I make up a story as I go along. I often don't know who the model is, unless it is a celebrity... As I created this piece, I realized this beautiful young woman reminded me the serene beauty, sexiness and confidence of a young Catherine Deneuve in the film Belle de Jour. The colors I chose became a 60's pop scheme reminiscent of the time of the film...and the title "Faire" is one word from the some phrase I translated from French - "Do I remind you of someone else?"
The composition is mixed media - a paper mosaic. All of the pieces of paper were hand-cut pieces of junk mail, or paper that would go to waste. The background includes scraps of scrapbook paper that a friend was going to throw away! I don't color the paper - that is the color of the material - it might be a magazine fly card, a postcard, advertising, catalog cover, menu...anything. I save everything paper to upcycle/recycle/repurpose into my art.

The piece was shown in NYC at Art Expo, and afterwards was sent to Translations Gallery in Denver - one of the galleries that represents my work.

If you know me, you know I post images on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, I blog, I send out emails. I can't help it, my background is in marketing, and I don't just make art, I do whatever I can to get it into the hands of the collector who I made the art for...
finding that person is the challenge for the artist, the gallerist, the collector!

Екатеринбу́рг is somewhere in the Ural mountains in Russia. An artist there saw a blog which featured my work. She followed the link to my site and realized the subject of one of my pieces, "Faire" looked a lot her friend, Masha. She sent Masha a link to the blog - who followed it to my web site. She and her boyfriend, Adis were certain "Faire" was indeed Masha Philippova!

That night, they called the phone number on my web site. Adis told me he thought I created a piece of art of his girlfriend. I felt a bit awkward, I didn't know where the conversation was going. We talked for a bit, in the meantime I was scouring the internet for photos to confirm Masha was Faire. Adis wanted us to meet, but of course, we're in Virginia, he and Masha are in NYC. He would have loved to have a reproduction of the piece - BIG.
However, my husband Norm and I were headed to NY in just a couple of weeks. I thought I would see if I could get the original piece from the gallery to take to NY. 

The next day, I called the gallery in Denver. "Sandhi, great news - I just sold one of your pieces!' Judy told me. "Which one," I asked. "Faire." Uh-oh. Yes, that is great...and the timing couldn't be stranger!

I created a reproduction on canvas - as large as possible. We took our trip to New York [we were going on a pilgrimage to see Ronnie Earl play at BB King's in Times Square anyway]. Adis invited us to Cipriani [you know, like Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy...where W Somerset Maugham [my favorite author] and Hemingway used to drink!].

We had a lovely dinner, the four of us talking, eating and laughing - thinking of how impossible the circumstances were to bring us together. Adis is charming and dynamic. I spent a lot of time looking at Masha's incredibly beautiful face, and there was much mutual admiration around the table. I am hoping we can meet again and work together showing and sharing my work with the world!

In the meantime, I signed the reproduction of "Faire" on the bar, and we went our separate ways...for now. 
And that's how this [temporarily] [hopefully] unknown artist had dinner with a super model!