Folklore says the fuzzy dice you find in antique cars owe their start to the fighter pilots of WWII. Pilots would drape a pair of dice over their mirror or instruments in the cockpit for luck before flying on combat missions.
The dishevel of American society caused by war resulted in celebrating rebellious nature against the status quo. This social rebellion not only resulted in the modern-day biker stereotype, but also hot rods and fast cars finding a place in American culture.
Thus, it was only a matter of time before the little symbol of luck changed and came along for the ride. During the 50’s and 60’s fuzzy dice appeared as a symbol of rebellion and dangerous racing.
The fad, like most, did not last. By the late 80’s the dice began to take on a new meaning to the aging population of original hot rodders. It wasn’t a symbol of rebellion as much as a reminder of the past.
As the decades passed, the feeling of nostalgia only became stronger. A reminder of past times when fast cars driving with the windows down on winding roads on the way to the local drive thru was born.
I endeavored to tap into this feeling of nostalgia while creating this piece. The long black and white panel and steering column of this Ford Thunderbird embodies the past stretching in the distance. The bright red of the dice hanging on the mirrors dramatically rivals memories of past exploits and summer travels.
The bright red dice, shown in full sunlight, is slightly off-center. I used the color as a natural draw denoting the struggle we feel coping with the present and future. They become a vivid reminder that the future is bright, colorful, and inviting yet now quite here yet. It gives hope.
While people in the northern hemisphere are celebrating the summer, we offer up our thanks to a
favorite destination during the season by visiting the beach. Sun, surf, and sand continue to be the well-known staples of a Floridian summer experience. Therefore, we would like to introduce the Summer Seabird Collection. This new collection of seabirds from the sunny coast of Florida reminds us of those special days of warm sunny mornings searching for seashells and suntans.
The first addition to the collection was the premier work Two Pelicans is a principal component of our new
collection. These two pelicans will swim confidently together from a local mangrove inlet into your personal collection. Wildlife is found year round in the tropics but our new collection allows you to experience and share those special moments anytime and anywhere.
In another work, an American Oystercatcher looks on with steady bright-eyed intent. He is a captivating flash of color in a sea of black and white texture. This work was very difficult to accomplish, as these seabirds had little to no tolerance for any human getting a good shot of them. Further, they insisted on nesting among the seaweeds blending into the foreground and thus making a strange and uniquely textured shot.
Even the Royal Terns nap gracefully on the beach
knowing the beach is the place to be, well after a visit to our gallery of course!
In Other News
In other news this month, we’d like to introduce a new development in the history of the gallery. A&A Photographic Arts has entered an outlet vendor deal with a special art dealer. Fotos by Fritz of the Tampa Bay Area will now display and sell a specifically curated selection of photographic artworks. This kind of outlet market is perfect for our growing gallery. We now offer one of a kind artist proofs, cards, reprints, and smaller prints to a whole new group of art lovers.
April is a very busy month in the art world. There are a lot of public shows and a few private ones. For example, the work Pelican recently showed at an exclusive art show with the Tarpon Springs Art Association in Tarpon Springs, Florida. These private or member only art shows really test an artist’s nerve. It is like presenting a scientific paper at a medical symposium. There is no place to hide if something goes hideously wrong and your colleagues are going to scrutinize your work with every critical bone in their body.
The story behind Pelican is a rather simple one. I was sitting on a dock watching a local fisherman filet a large fish, a large friendly pelican suddenly showed up to see if any scraps accidentally fell in the water. It was like watching a family pet begging at the dinner table. In the end it did not leave disappointed.
When I was in the process of choosing the type of print for the show, I discovered archival prints of this work look good. The work printed on canvas really has a classy artistic look. But, nothing beats out the absolute beauty of Pelican printed on metal. The gloss of the aluminum lends itself to showcase the pure whites in such a way that it looks almost self-illuminant. There is a serious wow factor to the print.
I soon found out I was no alone in this thought. In fact, the biggest complaint or critique I had on presenting Pelican was a comment that the print on metal was actually too good for local fare. Other artists told me that if a patron has a white or black furniture theme in the home or office, then a metal print of Pelican is the print they should get. It was the type of complaints that any artist wants to hear.
In Other News:
The gallery has experienced some very exciting growth opportunities recently by expanding its exhibitions
beyond the Texas border. The newest members of the butterfly collection made a special appearance at the Tarpon Springs annual Art on the Bayou festival. White Peacock Butterfly 2 and Monarch Butterfly 3 was well received by both the public and other artists alike.
The gallery will exhibit local photographic works in a new two-person art show at the Susan Dillinger Art Gallery in the New Port Richey City Hall from May 2nd – May 31st. The works will be on display during regular business hours. There is no cost to attend and enjoy the art. All art will be available for purchase.
Spring is one of the best times of the year. The days are getting longer, and the winds are warmer. The long winter, if such a thing existed in Florida, is coming to a close and the art season on the Suncoast is in full swing.
Meanwhile, the new butterfly collection remains on view at the Gateway Gallery in New Port Richey until April. There is no rest for the artist, and we are spending our precious spring days preparing Art on the Bayou in April, a two person show in the New Port Richey City Hall during May, and a continuing series of revolving shows at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.
In the meantime, enjoy our latest additions to the Butterfly Collection. These works of art are incredible to look at when printed on our archival aluminum print. The aluminum gives the image a glossy image and produces an effect that appears to light up each work.
This is the 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Roadster. In early December, I had the pleasure of seeing this beautiful car parked in a local park. The result is a classic car combined with the art of modern photography.
Built as the deluxe luxury model of the Confederate BA line in 1932, Chevrolet created only 8,552 of these fine cars. A”Stovebolt Six” 194 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine produced 455 hp thanks in part to an upgraded carburetor. The top speed was a blazing 70 mph. A special transmission featured easier shifting and a free wheeling mode rounded out the specs of the car.
The gas saving mode allowed the wheels to continue to spin when the driver released the fuel petal. The unfortunate side effect of this economic idea was a lack of engine braking.
It also supported 4 wheel brakes, a rumble seat, and a set of “Town and Country” styled horns to let people know you where there. One of the more fashionable signature features of this car was the use of louver doors and not vents on the side of the hood.
Oh, and one more fascinating historical trivia fact was that there are no turn signals. They hadn’t been introduced for use on cars yet. However, a parking light and brake lights were available for purchase .
As for the photograph itself, I decided that such a classic car needed representation in the art world the same way it was in the 1930’s. I wanted a classic film look that was both black and white and approximated the tonal qualities of a 400 Kodak film popular in the 1930’s.
The burnt edges of the picture are also something that occurred in many examples of film from cameras readily available to the public. Whether these markings were intentional or the result of unfortunate film developing I couldn’t say. In the end, I wanted the look to closely mirror what your grandfather or great-grandfather saw when they looked at their photo books.