Sunday, November 15, 2009

When Subways Were Safe to Ride

A while back I made this piece based on a drawing of my father in law - John Simmons. The story behind the drawing was the inspiration for this quilt and here's how it goes. Years ago, back in the 40s my newly married father in law worked in New York City - down at the docks on the late shift. He traveled to and from work on the subway, late at night with not too many people around. (Now if you've ever been to NY and traveled the subways, you know it can be a bit crazy, scary and sometimes not too safe). On this particular evening (around 2am) he nodded off while riding home. As he was sleeping a young man sitting across the way, sketched his picture. Upon awakening, the young man handed him his small piece of art. I guess he was very touched as he kept it for many years. At some point in time, my mother in law gave it to me and oh happy day - knew I would do something artistic with it. I love family stories, they make great subject matter.
The background is a lightweight canvas that's been microwave dyed for a soft mottled affect.
I enlarged the image and transferred it to fabric using a transparency. I also used stamps both conventional and non to create more interest.
An old document from my family was photocopied and then transferred to background.
Ink was dripped on the document to "age" it a bit and a skyline of NY City transferred to the bottom using a transparency.
This is a copy of the original picture which was quite small; I did enlarge it for the quilt. The small one was made into a screen to use as a label on the back.
A screen was also made of the story behind the picture. Most people look at the piece and don't get the significance of the title so I thought to put the story on the back of the piece.
and the back - stretched over "museum wrap" canvas stretchers, covered with muslin and a wire hanging.
I really love using pictures and other family items in my art - a great way of preserving memories and wonderful stories that might get lost over time. 

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