Friday, September 21, 2007

Icon-Style Guitars

Here is a picture of two icon-style guitars that I recently completed. Actually I just did the painting. Lee Connah built the instruments, which are modeled after a Martin Backpacker Guitar. I call them "icon-style" guitars because these are not real icons, in the sense that are meant for devotion. The guitars are built out of found objects (such as siding), plexiglass, and various guitar parts. The painting is done in egg tempera. Parts of the guitar, such as the neck and the siding back have been left in their unfinished state. Originally the guitars were going to have a cycle of paintings on them based on the lyrics from Lee's album "Folk Hero Sandwich", but I did not realize he wanted these so soon for a show, so I did not have time to develop that idea. Instead I went with what he originally requested: icons. A rather strange request, but then again my buddy Lee is a strange genius! So it's quite fitting. Overall, they are truly a collaborative artistic effort. I hope they get a good response at the show.


Aleksandr said...

oh my dear and reverend father!
How could you put icons on guitars or backpacks?

They require blessing and veneration...and this would never have been permitted in Russian Orthodox practice.

The saddest thing is they look beautiful. I think it had been better had you reiterated something already secularized such as the Praying Hands, so called, or the Sacred Heart in iconographic terminology.

Nicholodeon said...

When I saw the icons on the guitars I made the sign of the cross (Russ Orth wise)

They are superb. I happen to be an iconographer trained in the Novgorod School using egg tempera on gesso.

But I fnid myself horrified to see them on guitars (or is it lute or some medieval instrument; I don't know what a backpack looks like).

I grant that my shock is because I have never seen icons in this format. I take relief they are not canonically written.

About the only the only new thing among us Russian Orthodox in this way is often we put the icon of The Theotokos of The Way (Hodigitria) on one's dashboard. On trains and aeroplanes the Icon of St. Nicholas of Myra, Wonderworker, goes at the front, on the left.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Thanks for the compliments on the painting. I am self-taught in iconography as some of my other icon work all too clearly shows! I would love to do one of those camps to get better (like at St. Edward's, Enders Island) but can't afford it.

Clearly these are not canonically written icons, and nor are they intended to be. It will be great to have them in the show, though, as they will show forth Christ to a group of people who would otherwise never darken the door of a church. Christ is so often excluded from the intellectual conversation altogether today. I will be interested to see what sort of reaction they get at the show.