It began as an idea to continue making wearable art and bringing smiles to people's faces. So I posted this on Facebook to see who would want to join me:
"Here is a marvelous idea (mav for short)! Artists create art that moves around the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, inspired by the art in the museum. A bunch of us artists meet at the VMFA and select an art piece as inspiration for a grand costume that's Met worthy. We have 2 months to then construct it and then have a finale unveiling at the VMFA. As long as the idea is yours, you can get help on technical aspects or even have someone else rock your look. Let's make it happen!"
Simple enough right? Where today 3 of us rocked our looks at the VMFA and boy did we have fun Flash Mob style - or as I liked to call it Flash MAV. We felt like celebrities with people asking us to stop for pictures. It was great camaraderie and an opportunity to tell people about the pieces that inspired us.
Speaking of which, my piece was a Geledé Mask of the Yoruba people of Nigeria made of wood and painted. According to the museum:
"On these two remarkably large carved and painted wooden masks, a man and woman of high status ride on horseback with great ceremony, each under a large umbrella and surrounded by a procession of retainers bearing gifts and playing instruments. Dancing in pairs, Gèlèdé masks entertain the community. Even when they are not performing, these fabulous masks provide a pageant-like spectacle."
Unfortunately the African gallery was closed and I couldn't take a picture with the piece. But here is a couple from their website.
Since I love fabric and dolls, I made mines thusly. I almost feel like I'm on an episode of "Nailed It!" See any resemblance? Okay well I'm not exactly riding my horse.
A couple of artists joined me on my mission, Susannah and Heather. Both of their inspiration came from the McGlothlin Collection of American Art.
Susannah was inspired by "The Abundance of Nature" by Severin Roesen ca. 1855. The resemblance is remarkable. She even had a bird's nest on the front of her jacket and held a wine glass. One guest told her the only thing missing was the wine. From the museum's site:
"A celebration of nature’s bounty, this grand painting illustrates fourteen different types of flowers and fifteen varieties of fruit. Careful inspection also reveals ladybugs, a tiny bird’s nest filled with eggs, and studio windows reflected in a wine glass. The artist cleverly formed his signature in vine tendrils at the lower right corner of the canvas.
Roesen, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1848, is considered the leading practitioner of still-life paintings of mid-19th-century America. This work is his largest known canvas. The seemingly objective representation of an abundant display is actually an idealized studio fabrication of fruit and flowers that ripen or bloom in different seasons."
Heather was inspired by a slipper chair made by Pottier and Stymus Manufacturing Company, ca. 1870-75. She took aspects from the designs in the chair as well as the artifacts surrounding it. From the museum:
"This richly cared, gilded, and upholstered slipper chair is part of an important set of Egyptian Revival furniture. In its original state, the now-faded upholstery was colored a brilliant turquoise detailed with metallic threads.
Pottier and Stymus was one of the foremost American cabinetmaking and decorating firms during the second half of the 19th century. Established in 1859, it was known for its high-end objects and interiors. Auguste Pottier, a French émigré, was trained as a wood-carver and cabinetmaker. By the late 1850s, he and William P. Stymus, an upholsterer, were employed as foremen at the firm of Rochefort and Skarren. Upon Rochefort’s death, the two colleagues bought the company and expanded its operations. By 1875 – divided into studios for furniture, tapestries, paintings, mosaics, trimmings, upholstery, veneers, and mounts, the company was employing more than 750 people, with sales exceeding a million dollars."
After visiting each other's pieces and taking plenty of photos, we enjoyed lunch on the patio in the awesome weather we had today. We can't wait to do this again.
And there you have it. Check out more photos in this gallery: