THOUGHTS keep me up at night. So many ideas, so little time.
There’s a line in Amadeus, one of my favorite movies, where Mozart’s rival Salieri describes the beginning notes of the Adagio of Mozart’s Gran Partita as “a rusty squeeze-box.” That’s how I describe my night thoughts.
I'm trying to solve a problem, have a design dilemma, or I'm excited about a new project or direction. My brain won't shut off so I can sleep. It's a steady unrelenting melody that keeps me up, holds me up and elevates me. It's an ear-worm, a spell, sometimes it’s a curse. There's pressure: I have so much to explore, discover, experiment, say. Do I switch gears and consider something new and different or entertain a new course of study? Perhaps I need a palate cleanser: a new mosaic, a stained-glass piece, a sculpture, a collage. Stick with one art form? - forget it - consistency be damned! My inspiration is everything - light, music, nature, ugliness, of course beauty! My art is an escape, a shelter, a meditation, a balm, freedom. So I keep on learning, exploring, thinking, discovering, creating.
The artwork is completed, pressure is released, satisfied for the moment. My brain can rest, but it's only temporary. The melody starts again, like a rusty squeezebox, time, once again, for a little night music.
Anne Grant Rogers, striving artist, 2022
THE MAKING AND DOING
MASK making has been part of my rotating explorations way before the Covid pandemic forced the world to address mask wearing. Most of my masks can't be worn (anyway). I like to think of them more as headpieces. Most are not human-like. Considering facial structure (if any), fantasy, color, and dozens of other options make this pursuit very satisfying. Each "headpiece" presents its own design issues: how to support the weight, secure the nose, beak, appendage, how to display, proper proportion, or not, etc. The point is to ignore consistency - all are different, some serious, some playful, all fun.
LIGHT inspires and fascinates me. I believe art relies on light to function and for the observer to interact and process what they see. I love to experiment and discover light's reaction, movement, and behavior on my artwork, specifically mosaics: how is the artwork changed or transformed by time of day, season, lighting (natural, artificial), types and textures of materials, or use of color (or lack of)? I enjoy using a relatively neutral color palette so that light can “play” and explore freely (and with abandon!) over the work's surfaces.
For my substrates, I am drawn to multi-dimensional surfaces as opposed to one dimentional flat surfaces. I want observers to be able to enjoy my art by being able to see it from different angles through movement. About his own work artist David Judd said that he “prided himself on pieces that the viewer comprehended by circumnavigating.” I couldn't agree more.
Generally, I am a self-taught artist, however in 2011, I decided to study mosaics at the Chicago Mosaics School. There I learned the basics and advanced mosaic techniques from some of the most accomplished mosaic artists from around the world. I continue to use what I learned at the school in my work and explorations.
For my mosaic work, I utilize many different materials that include natural stone, marble, granite, slate, sheet glass, metal, etc. I also incorporate into my mosaics gold, silver, and colored smalti (a highly reflective slab glass manufactured in Italy and Mexico).
I use a hammer and hardie to cut marble, stone, slate, smalti, etc. into individual tesserae (workable smaller pieces/tiles). This method of stone cutting has been used for centuries to make mosaics.
An infinite number of materials can be used to make mosaics: stone, marble, granite, slate, smalti, stained sheet glass, the possibilities are endless.
STAINED GLASS is a by-product of mosaic work. I accumulated a surplus of sheet glass and was able to utilize it in stained glass. I continue to hone my skills in this area. Fortunately, there is a resurgence of interest in this art form so I expect there will be more stained glass work in my future!