As of late I've been making an effort to "go big"--or at least go bigger. Up until now my collage work has generally been in and around the 8" x 10" size, with an occasional venture as big as 24" x 36". This one, though, blows the others away in terms of size--and in my opinion, it's a good piece of art as well. Tooting my own horn isn't my style, but--dammit--I'm proud of this piece! Here's how it came to be...
I enjoy a good story. That said, I’ve always had an affinity for mythology, so from time to time I’ll create a piece that’s inspired by a myth from antiquity.
My latest piece--Atlas Telamon, collage on 36” x 48” cradled hardboard panel--is inspired by the Greek myth of Atlas. Why him? Honestly, as is the case with much of my work, it was an accident. As a collage artist, my process usually begins with an image, and each piece kind of grows organically from there. Over the last couple of years I’ve managed to accrue quite a lot of (mostly old, but some new as well) books, ads, mags, posters, and the like. While thumbing through my 1950s & 60s magazine collection--LIFE, The Saturday Evening Post, Look, etc.—I ran across an image of Charles Atlas (born Angelo Siciliano), the iconic body builder/exercise guru of yore. The image of the smiling, middle-aged Atlas captured my attention, and I knew I just had to somehow use it. This eventually led me to the Atlas of Greek mythology, the basis behind Angelo’s name change. I suppose Charles Atlas, who went from a purported “97 pound weakling” to a muscle-bound icon, could be considered a mythological figure in his own right.
Anyway, with a quick web search (theoi.com and greekgodsandgoddesses.net), I refreshed my knowledge of the original Atlas. He was “leader of the Titanes (Titans) in their war against Zeus.” Atlas’ side lost--duh, the Zeus Crew never loses. It’s a misnomer, however, that he was condemned to hold up the Earth. Instead, after Zeus and Company won, Atlas “was condemned to carry the heavens upon his shoulders.” More specifically he was tasked to “stand at the Western edge of Gaia (the Earth) and hold the heavens on his shoulders to prevent the two from resuming their primordial embrace.”
In addition, Atlas was the god who taught humans the art of astronomy and—this is where I came up with the name for the piece—was known as “Atlas Telamon, or ‘enduring Atlas,’ a name embodying his daily struggle and punishment.” Face it, the dude personifies endurance.
So there you go. Check out some of the process pics of Atlas Telemon below. Of course, Charles Atlas’ image--the largest acrylic transfer I've ever done--is the focal point, but the rest of the materials are a compilation of 1950s and 60s advertisements with bits of astronomical maps and imagery.
Check back because I'll probably post some detail pics over the next couple of days.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.