Thursday, September 1, 2011
John Lennon's Spectacles
I've never been a huge Beatle's fan. Sure, I like their music well enough, and like everyone else I've had it playing around me in some form or another for most of my life. Aside from that brief period in 2nd grade when my friends and I argued over which Beatle was cutest, they just didn't mean that much to me. My husband, however, is what you might call a dedicated fan. Make that Very Dedicated. He will argue seriously that few musicians have impacted music the way they have.
So it is no surprise that when we were in England and staying just outside of Liverpool, we scheduled a day to go into the city to see the famous places in Beatles history. We trooped around and saw the sights and learned things about them that even Roger didn't know. It was very fun.
I was having a nice time, enjoying it all in a "isn't this interesting pop-culture history" sort of way when a few things stopped me in my tracks. One was a piece of handwritten sheet music which turned out to be Paul McCartney's handwritten early draft of "Yesterday." There was just something so immediate and real about seeing these messy penciled scribbles, and knowing that it was Paul's actual hand that had written it. (This picture was heavily adjusted in Photoshop, by the way, so you could see the music markings. The real thing was done in very pale pencil.)
And then, at a Beatles' museum sort of place called "The Beatles Story" (which was WONDERFUL and really full of fascinating things), I came upon a small glass display case containing John Lennon's orange glasses. The fact that they were orange totally surprised me. (See? Your major Beatles fan would have known he wore orange glasses, I guess.)
But what hit me was how ordinary they looked sitting there. A simple pair of glasses, imbued with such magic because of the talented man who'd worn them. And that, more than anything else I'd seen during that whole day, made John Lennon real to me.
So that's a long explanation of what this piece is about: the glasses and the handwriting that transformed the Beatles from rock music icons into real people for me.
In terms of how this was made: I screen printed text onto fabric with textile paint, and then painted the glasses on free hand. The word "Imagine" is orange organza stitched on. The piece is machine quilted, mostly with white thread for texture between the lines of writing.