Thursday, January 22, 2015

Zuni Meets Chelsea (69)

"Zuni Meets Chelsea (69)", oil on canvas, 24x24". For sale on Etsy.
A young woman looks frighteningly happy about the stone armadillo being presented to her by a Zuni artisan. The woman wears an expensive silver and turquoise Zuni squash blossom necklace that can be purchased for £1,100 at a shop called Wilde Ones in Chelsea, London. The Zuni artisan also looks happy to meet a collector of his artwork. He makes Zuni fetish figures, tiny stone creatures with magical properties, according to legend. The armadillo is a modern addition to the more traditional figure shapes, as armadillos are not naturally found as far to the west as Zuni lands in western New Mexico.

This painting connects two randomly selected topics: Chelsea Pink (a shade of mauve that is color #69 in Naomi Kuno's Colorscape book) and anteaters, sloths and armadillos (from my DK Family Encyclopedia). It was difficult to find an armadillo in Chelsea. From what I was able to gather in my research, it's an obscenely wealthy area filled mostly with bland, expensive international designer shops. The Wilde Ones shop seems to be a rare holdout from an earlier era when things were grittier and funkier in Chelsea. It offers "New Age" and ethnic jewelry and gifts. I browsed through their offerings online until I discovered the Zuni fetishes. I created this happy but slightly terrifying and unequal meeting of worlds that is unlikely to take place in real life.

01-22-15. Silver maple tree branches in the view from one of our bedroom windows.