May 22, 2014 by smithartonline
Alleyways have been a fascination since my earliest memory. I can well remember my grandmother walking me to some store or other in my prekindergarten days. She would wax rhapsodic about the beauty of these back streets. I grew up in an area, which was neither suburban nor rural (well, more rural, even today. We did even have real paved streets, but behind our house was “Old Doc Miller’s Farm” – in fact one of my childhood hobbies was getting run over by his goatherd). At any rate, there were plenty of these alleyways where I lived.
As an aside, my grandmother became the “stay-at-home” parent while my mother was out earning the paycheck, having found herself a widow by way of the Korean War. She was 24 years old at the time, with a couple of children and no financial resources…I‘m not sure I could have dealt with all this at 24, but I guess one deals with the cards one is dealt.
Perhaps it was my grandmother’s interest, which was passed on to me. Later in life I have attempted to break down this interest into visual components and then incorporating it into my work.
I suspect the attraction is centered upon the overlay of patterns, weathering and history. Old alleys are almost like walking through a palimpsest showing layers covering layers, a visually rich and rewarding experience.
This particular piece employs this layering through the use of various media and collaged papers. Because I use different media in the piece, there is a natural layering effect, the result providing a feeling of time and change. Of course the greatest advantage for me is when I really mess up an area of a work, I can cover it up with collaged paper and act like it was planned genius.