When people want to combine the worlds of music and art, they'll go see a Broadway musical or maybe enjoy those cheesy stock images that roll across the screen of their fave karaoke DVD as they belt out "Total Eclipse of the Heart" like nobody's business.
When Karl Schreiner and his wife Harriet set out to organize the largest fundraising event in the Santa Fe Symphony's 28-year history, they figured they'd combine those two worlds in possibly the most literal way ever.
Behold: the painted violin.
The symphony handed over 57 instruments to local and nationally renowned artists, and gave them free rein to paint, sculpt, draw, deconstruct and reconfigure whatever they could imagine. The artists, to name just a few, include Tom Perkinson, Dan and Arlo Namingha, Monika Kaden, Teri Greeves (see Arts Valve, Aug. 15: "Proud Teri"), Star Liana York and the like.
Artists took the task seriously—this isn't your average 9th grader who half-assed a drawing of his dog and expects you to shell out big bucks for it so he can go to summer camp. A committee of art experts was formed to decide which image-makers were violin worthy and to whittle a pool of 95 prospects down to the choice 57.
Greeves says that hers is a collaboration with her fellow artist husband, Dennis Esquivel.
"He painted it with a Great Lakes floral design, and I did the beadwork," she tells SFR, adding that the beaded figure depicted in the piece is a Métis fiddle player.
"Métis literally means 'of mixed blood,'" Greeves says, alluding to the First Nations-recognized aboriginal group, and explaining that their unique brand of violin-based Native music veers away from the traditional percussion-based sound, reflecting its Scottish and Irish influence.
"It's its own genre—like zydeco is down here," Greeves points out.
The pieces are set to be auctioned off during a special gourmet dinner headed by Carmen Rodriguez, executive chef at La Posada. Proceeds generated from the fabulous fiddles aid the Santa Fe Symphony in its support of local musicians and community outreach programs.
The revamped violins encompass everything from in-your-face abstract pieces to more conservative examples, and include an array of artists with backgrounds ranging from painting and ceramics to jewelry-making and metal work.
Frenchman Pascal actually chopped his violin in half, while Charles Carrillo and Marie Romero Cash transformed their instruments into Catholic Madonna shrines.
One question remains: Will you still be able to let your inner Charlie Daniels out and thrill the admirers of your burgeoning collection to an artsy rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?
Shell out some shillings and find out for yourself.