Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dying to discover your color?

Too bad there's not another way to get this information.

Wayne Gilbert, a Houston artist, got one of his best ideas while humming along the highway. One day in the late '90s, there he was surrounded by people in cars, going absolutely nowhere, when an idea hit him like a thunderbolt.

"I was trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between what is human about art and what art is about humans," Gilbert said. "And it hit me that I could show that by using human remains (ashes) in my paintings."

Sound like a macabre episode out of Six Feet Under? Not quite, although Gilbert admits that many people find the idea a little off-putting.

"The vast majority start out saying, `Oooh'," he said. "Then they open up to it."

He tells visitors to his 5,000-square-foot home and studio in the Heights that the ashes he uses are all unclaimed from funeral homes -- several as long as 25 years.

"I got the feeling that some of them might have ended up in the trash," he said. "It took me six months of asking, working and phone calls before people would listen to the idea, because I was very up front. I don't feel disrespectful about it; quite the opposite, I feel very respectful."

Gilbert has produced about 50 pieces using human remains. At first the ashes were mixed with color, but now he mixes them with a high-quality resin gel that he refers to as his palette. Everyone, he says, is a different color.

About The Artist


Blogger Sam said...

I dunno.
It's sort of like a murder mystery book with a real dead person to find and dig up in the end.

I saw you like Lonesome Dove - that was one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE books, lol.

November 16, 2005 5:32 AM  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Hey Sam! Ooooo. It would make an awesome murder mystery! The whole time, the body is in the painting, hanging in the living room. LMAO!

I've read Lonesome Dove about 30 times. I God! LOL. It's like revisiting old friends. I also thought it was one of the best translations into film anyone's ever done. IMHO it was McMurtry's magnum opus.

Nice to see ya!

November 16, 2005 5:42 AM  
Blogger Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

I find this fascinating--morbid, but thoroughly intriguing. The guy definitely deserves a gold star for originality and creativity. He’s taken recycling to new heights…or lows, depending on how you look at it. And if he lives in a 5,000 sq. ft house, somebody must be snapping up these gruesome little gems. Not sure I’d want somebody’s Aunt Edna or Uncle Herbert looming over my sofa. LOL

And now to your blog’s fresh new look, Ann: Absolutely FABULOUS! I love the warm colors, the welcoming feel and the smart retro logo. It makes me think of Miami and L.A. and relaxing under the sun with a great read…why, an Ann Wesley Hardin book, in fact! Great job, kiddo!!

I love Karen Scott’s snazzy new purple and lavender design, too. Maybe once I get out of deadline hell I’ll get around to tinkering some more with mine. :-D

November 16, 2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Hi Daisy, thanks! Karen's is what inspired me. I got to thinking about what I'd ask for if I paid that whopping $25 (is that a steal or what?) for a design. Then I just figured I'd tinker on it myself and see what happens.

I still might get them to do it up right for me with fonts, graphics and better layout. I can't for the life of me figure out how to get the font I want to work. It goes all wonky if I change the size. HTML newbie here. But I'm having fun learning.

November 16, 2005 11:14 AM  
Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Color me impressed that someone besides The Kid has mentioned this guy to me within one week - ROFL.

By the way, like the new look.

November 17, 2005 11:10 PM  

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