Friday, December 10, 2010

Corn Mother

A Virgin a Day
December 10, 2010
Day 10
Our Lady of Guadalupe

A Virgin a Day is the title of this Meme Project. It is a tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe. To participate, see Rebecca’s recuerdo mi corazon blog. There, you will get more definition and instructions as well as see other’s submissions. 

NOTE: For those that have come for Haiku My Heart Friday, please scroll down and you'll find my submission. Thank You
I have always had a fascination with the image and statues I’ve seen of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I never knew why I liked this art form so much, but after my Mother went on her final journey home last February, I realized it was her influence and her faith that has kept me interested, and somewhat knowledgeable, about Our Lady. I can't tell you when I realized how much I appreciate the art side of it.

If you care to, you may look at this as religious, or you may see it as art for the sake of art. I make no assertions about anything to anyone as far as my own faith or religion with these posts. I simply dedicate my involvement with this Virgin Business to my Loving Mother, Carmelina Rosa Caruso Spado. Just to be talking about the Blessed Virgin Mary would make her proud of me.

Cristina Perez' Corn Mother

I’ve mentioned before, mostly on the blog comments of the fabulous artists sites that I am so fortunate to have been introduced to, that I have a hard time understanding the creative process, I don’t do poetry very well and I admire all that can deliver such beauty in photos, paintings, objects and words.
That being said, the fact that I don’t get out much to art shows or openings might be one of the reasons why my grasp of art may be a bit lacking. But I know what I like. I just can’t tell you why I like it, or dislike it, if that’s the case.
This particular subject, Our Lady of Guadalupe, I like. And that assessment is “in general.” I have only learned recently that these types of paintings and color treatments that I find when visiting the Southwestern USA, where Guadalupe is so prominent, is considered Folk Art, or at least a form of Folk Art.
Back pedal to around 2004. I was living in St. Paul in those days and hanging out at the J&S Bean Factory Coffee House. My good friend, Steve, owns the place. I’d show up there just about every morning. Most of the time, the usual characters came in, conversations ensued, and time was spent whiling away many hours each morning.
A positive about this daily event was that I got to meet a lot of people. I’d be talking to someone and someone else would walk in and the person I was talking to knew this other person and I was introduced and low and behold we had something or someone in common. Next thing you know, we’re all talking and making connections and it wasn’t very unusual that I didn’t know someone else, someone that wasn’t seated at the table, that the person I was just introduced to, knew as well. If not a person, then a place, or a job I’ve held, as I am well traveled from years of road trips throughout the USA and have held my share of jobs.
In this one case, I met a guy named Tom. Tom, in his own right, is a very unique character and is an artist. His medium is bronze casting and he is from the very old school of seeking benefactors, or what he calls in the vernacular, patrons of the arts. Patrons that would give him money to research, plan and produce an exquisite art piece that they could have for their own collection.
Disclaimer: So far, this story has nothing what-so-ever to do with The Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s just how I came about going to the art show that produced the Corn Mother print that will.
In any event, Tom and I became friends quickly and we met many mornings and talked about everything in particular and nothing in general, or is that the other way around, I never could get that right either.
Tom, being an artist, knew many other artists. He told me about an art show coming up in an old Northeast Minneapolis building that had been turned into artists lofts called The California Building.
A photo of Tom's most famous work, Moonbell. It sits in the entry of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Building 

Incidentally, one of the connections Tom and I made in the weeks leading up to the announcement about the upcoming art show was the fact that someone I worked with years before, had a loft there. A fellow named Aldo Moroni. Aldo and I worked in the motion picture industry together, that’s where I met him. He has a studio in the California Building and if I went to this particular art event that Tom was inviting me to, I’d get to see Aldo and his then not yet famous Babylon Project, which, is quite interesting as well as very beautiful.
Back to my story. While attending this art event, I wandered through the floors of lofts and stopped here and there to look at what might be offered. In a small uncluttered room were a few paintings and prints. One of these was the one I am presenting here as my offering for A Virgin a Day.
When I saw it, I immediately said, “Corn Mother”. The artist, a woman named Cristina Perez, heard me and told me, “Yes, the name of this print is The Corn Mother.”
I had to have it. I liked it. The colors, the image. I’d seen that image before. I knew it was Our lady. She resembled Our lady of Guadalupe, but with a corn cob as an aura. Back in those days I had already started my once and twice yearly treks to New Mexico and was falling in love with the Folk Art of this particular image.
I made a purchase of art, while attending an art show in a building where artists plied their trade. That had to be the start of it. Now, many years later, I will go to Cristina’s site and write to her and tell her how I am posting this story about her art piece and that since I looked up her name and found the modern day site for her work, I see she is quite talented and there are other pieces I might be interested in purchasing. I see she has a great portfolio of Los Dios de Los Muertos, or Days of the Dead folk art, with my Corn Mother amongst the offerings! I will be paying her site a few visits.
Incidently, while perusing Cristina’s website, I came across this fabulous painting entitled Mayan Mother from her collection. Just seems fitting as every Mother emulates the Blessed Virgin Mother, and this Mayan Mother is no exception.
Mayan Mother
Brown Mayan Mother

Not different from our own

Reflecting Mary

(I thought I'd add haiku for this print since today is Friday and Rebecca's Haiku My Heart Friday, another great Meme idea, is usually presented today)

So, that’s my story. That’s my submission for Day 10. The Corn Mother print and how it came into being in my life. Our Lady working in mysterious ways? Maybe so. I’m making a new connection with an artist I met only once, and I’m inspired to call Tom Attridge and see how he’s doing. Maybe I’ll pay him a visit and we’ll sit around his kitchen nook and hold the guitar a little.



english inukshuk said...

how very lovely! I really like the corn mother

so earthy

I'm loving the fact that you've met these interesting people over a cup of coffee


a lovely Friday
once again with Spadoman
thanks for the stories

Summer Gypsy said...

Good Morning! I love your connection of the Blessed Virgin to your birth mother. Beautiful analogy! I also like the idea of visiting your friend and sitting in that kitchen nook strumming on a guitar. Great place to be on this cold, wintry day! Peaceful tidings!

Christopher said...

Fascinating, Spadoman, thank you. This series is a real inspiration.

I don't suppose you are connected via your mother with Enrico Caruso?

Pace, caro amico

Stephanie said...

You have to stop saying you are not craft words and stories like none other!!

Wonderful story and the corn mother is beautiful.


Annie Jeffries said...

Good morning Spadoman. I read every single word today; I visited every link; I fell in love with Christina Perez' work. You may not get out much but you have the soul of an artist and you showed it to us today.

Nanka said...

Lovely post and the Haiku divine!!

A mother and child is a picture perfect of true love and divinity!!

paper-n-soul said...

Both Corn Mother and Mayan Mother are just beautiful, and you weave another intriguing story.

I will be visiting the artist's site, too.


Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Yet ANOTHER great story!! I love it and will go back and check out the links. I know what you mean about liking something but not exactly having the words or thoughts to explain why. I do know that taking art history courses help in matter. I would love to take an art history course on religious art. The symbolism alone for all the cultures is fascinating.
Good tales told today!

turquoise cro said...

O! I enJOYed your post soOOOo much, the simplicity of all those peeps meetings and connections! Love the Corn Mother and also Tom's Moonbell! Happy Week-end!

eb said...

Dear Mr. Spadoman,
YOU inspire me
so much
your story crafting
and big heart
and warm
from the center...

xox - eb.

in a round-about way
I think
(almost burned the Brussels sprouts)
you inspired
tomorrow's post

tami said...

love, love your posts, your stories! I am from the SW - corn was a such a big part of the mytholody I grew up with! Thank you for sharing!

Noelle Clearwater said...

I love the deep and brilliant colors of the corn mother. I love that she rises organically out of the husk. Her brown skin, her bright eyes, her glittering cloak and her shining hair are all wonderful to behold. She is warm and tender, as is your Mayan mother and I adore your haiku, so deeply heartfelt and reflective. All mothers are madonnas, it is true. Your story of how you came by the Corn mother is astonishing and "folksy" just like the art, and it weaves a tapestry tale that is lovely in itself. You are a storyteller Mr. S. Thank you for this lovely post.
Peace and Blessings,

susan said...

I see you've been very busy and have written some wonderful posts for the Virgin series. Mother Earth, the Corn Mother, the Holy Mother and your own Mother must all be smiling down on you.


foxysue said...

I'm a little behind with my comments but nevertheless I had to read your story to be able to comment, a lovely story it is too! Wish I could talk over coffee and guitar strumming.


Sue x

Mel said...

Amazing what a good cuppa coffee can bring to your life, eh?
And what gorgeous pieces.

And there's something about just gazing at 'em that brings a peacefulness to me.

((((((((( Spadoman )))))))))

You're such a brilliant fella.

Spadoman said...

This is an e-mail I received today from the artist of Corn Mother and Mayan Mother, Cristina perez.

Hi Joe,
What a nice surprise to wake up to yesterday! I am glad you enjoyed that image, and I am glad you were able to use it to inspire your own art too.
I have no problem with you using the image, thank you for the mention and website link!
I love your Haiku. What a great project too.

I having been working on a story and more art related to Guadalupe and you have inspired me to keep going.
Isn't it great how things work that way?



ms pie said...

really enjoyed reading your post from beginning to end.. amazing how everything is connected for a specific reason at a specific time as if the past present and future are always together in our midst and us not realizing the depths of a decent cuppa joe and conversation.... thank you for the links it was most enjoyable to read abt cristina and babylon... indeed the corn mother has a certain presence one cannot deny..