Music has always helped create my dance with art. From saxophone, to guitar, percussion, to singing, the essence of sound has helped inspire my designs.
So one logical sequence in my visual thread, was to pay homage to the form of the instrument itself. Being in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, helped to nurture
the series – the glass guitar.
Since around 1996, when I created four painted wood guitars for my son to rollerblade with in our Art Museum parade, the form of the guitar has seemed to blossom in many incarnations.
From paintings to hand-painted guitars, computer graphic renderings, to guitars made solely from glass, this instrument has challenged and focused my attention. All this, while being a life-long saxophone player! Ah, the dichotomies of life…(but yes, saxophones do surface in the glass series, also…)
After years of exploring this loaded form, and 38 years in the glass field, I find new inspirations almost daily with which to create these visual inspirations.
The guitars are a fun diversion from my usual fare of stained, etched, and cast glass windows, doors, and tables. I also create glass and metal sculpture, and work on several high end Corporate Awards that include both casting, etching, and metal materials. Feel free to check out my website – http://www.kellerartglass.com, for more guitars, both mini and full sized, and other renderings of glass creations through the years.
I must admit, that along with several galleries that the guitars are in, the Grand Ole Opry Hotel is in discussions with me about handling my mini guitars series at their shops in Nashville. Jazz, Blues, Country….its all good!
The discovery of each evolution of the process of the glass guitars seems to open another door to the “next step”. When I was casting the glass, the casting material seemed to be embedded pretty tightly into the back of my guitars. When I went to paint the guitars, I tried to get the paint to bleed a bit – much to my surprise, the bleeding did not burn out when fired in, but actually took on the look of watercolors! No more hard-edged glassy looking colors – now the opportunity of blending colors is at my disposal. I can’t wait to see what the possibilities are with this new technique ….
Today I bought a perfectly good guitar case, and ripped it up royal! Fun to see how it was constructed, and how I could devise it so two glass guitars would fit into it for the shipment to my gallery in Key West.
After UPS “bought” two guitars a couple weeks ago for their very impermanent collection, I had a gas creating two more, so the gallery could finally show the works.
In chorus the other nite, I sat in the back, closed my eyes, and saw the shape of the guitar, and some colors that would be working in the interior spaces. Quite an audio-visual experience, with the aid of my mind’s eye! It made me think of Beethoven, when he became deaf, and his ability to hear the music for his symphonies inside his head. Still a long way to go on that one!
These two will ship Monday, and should arrive intact on Friday, if all this constructing produces the right result. The challenge of each step of this process is fueling the juices….
It was enlivening to see the two guitars that I designed be auctioned off by Southeby’s at the Rock Hall for charity. Especially since they fetched a coool couple thousand dollars to the Rock Hall, Cleveland Film Commission, and the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where my wife used to teach in the summers when the kids were little. A gratifying way to give back to the community ( and enjoy the process of doing art for the event ).
The guitars were given by the Gibson Co. – Stratocasters – to be decorated by artists in the city. I was fortunate to have two of the first 25 accepted in the competition, and loved seeing what everyone else manisfested on their guitar footprints. Everything from graphics in paint, to vinyl, to feathers!
There were Cleveland collectors, and a few New Yorkers via the phone lines, with their hired bidders keeping the prices escalating for the particularly sought-after models. What a great way to start a collection of one-of-a-kind guitars for a great cause, and not too steep of a price, seeing as the guitars were supposed to be sold in stores for $1600, and many of the guitars did not even make that price after the bidding stopped. I was thinking – for a mere 10 grand, someone could make quite a conversation wall out of these babies. And even take one off the wall, and strum a few chords, if you’re so inclined!
I fused several pieces of black and orange glass to create a monarch butterfly. At different temperatures, the edges of the glass rounded, or stayed more static and hard edged, which helped to produce a fine looking monarch, which ended up in a “time flies” mirror, with the viewer as the flier! I’ll take a picture soon.
Had a couple come in during the Art Walk this past weekend that were interested in the Rock Hall guitars. One couple was interested in having his own guitar designed, while the other was a member of several boards around town, and we talked about how to get good publicity for the Charity auction for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Music School Settlement, and the Cleveland International Film Festival .
Gibson Guitar is sponsoring this event, so they will be the point company that will need to tie all of the advertizing together. Looking forward to seeing how it comes together!
Had a woman from a Los Angeles law firm call me while I was in Philadelphia on Thanksgiving vacation, interested in my glass guitars on KellerArtGlass.com. She is interested in one for a Christmas present for her husband, and wanted to know pricing. I’m looking forward to getting her one for the holidays!