no woman is an island…contd.

I was introduced to Greg and Veronica by Ruben and Sally.
Veronica telephoned one afternoon and asked if I knew an artist that could create a tile mural for her kitchen. She explained she wanted a San Pasqual. But, she said, it had to be ready for installation in 7 days. No, I don’t know anyone. Can you do it…she asks. As an art student I majored in ceramics and I did work in tile but I had not really worked with clay in at least a decade. The time line concerned me. Ceramics 101, lesson #1, do not rush clay. I offered to make some calls, maybe locate someone at the college. A few days later we spoke again, perhaps a painting on the tile, she wondered. Her prefabricated, unsealed tile was porous and she had plenty. I could paint a mural, and seal it onto the tile. I put aside what I was working on and began with enthusiasm.

I researched San Pasqual and learned he is the patron saint of kitchens and cooks. Veronica wanted a couple of things, a quote she made up herself to be included in the design, and a beautiful Mexican border. She brought me the tiles and samples of all the various tiles that would surround it. I don’t know if she had a clear idea of what she wanted but I sure got the sense that she did. Within a short time I came up with a design. I sent her digital images as I moved along because we had such a tight time line. We had no room for miscommunication or error. I enjoyed designing and completing the folk art image, working with Veronica, and yes…delivering it in seven days was exciting.

San Pasqual Tile Mural

San Pasqual Tile Mural

The mural is personalized.  San Pasqual stands in their kitchen at their butcher’s block table. He cuts jalapenos, tomatoes and onions for a Mexican salsa. A mural is drawn in the exact spot, to the left of the saint, where the real mural would itself be installed. And again, this mural is repeated within the painted mural, and then again.  Greg’s reaction when he sees the detail …Look! Infinity!…he points and laughs loudly.
celayabasketA basket in the lower right corner is filled with objects connected to Greg and Veronica. She shares with me her love of art and writing, included for her are paper and color ink pens. Greg’s symbols are a pitcher’s glove, a baseball, and a stethoscope. He aspired to be a baseball pitcher before going on to medical school. I painted in the wrong glove, and had to sand out and repaint the area several times. A left-handed glove, Veronica had to explain. Greg is now a family physician. Animals are present because San Pasqual is also considered the helper of domestic animals. Veronica loves animals. Their turtle Chico, walks across the floor. The tree on the left edge is a bit of magic. celayabottlesWine bottles, on the table include their May 2, 1981 wedding date, and somehow my husband’s May 4th birthday date becomes intermingled. Eddie is present in a serendipitous manner. We laugh months later, when I eventually realize I’d done this. Veronica and Greg are a solid pairing, maybe I was naturally thinking of my other half. The bright colors, fruit, and flowers connect to abundance.

They invite us to a dinner party when the installation is complete. When I see it hanging as the focal point of their kitchen, I want it back. It came and went so fast…

Months later I invite Veronica and Greg to my exhibition, Mental Concoctions. They also visit my studio. Veronica is drawn to a work I designed for the 10-year anniversary art invitational exhibition, for Burton Bar Library. It is a light-hearted work celebrating books and knowledge. It really is appropriate to her.

Enlightenment at Ones Fingertips

Enlightenment at Ones Fingertips

I Am, Yo Soy, Monica Aissa Martinez

I Am, Yo Soy, Monica Aissa Martinez

Greg responds to a larger work from the exhibition.  I watched as he stood directly in front of the painting. The text, both in English and Spanish, caught his attention. The painting is about identification. It is both political and spiritual in content. Who Am I? Quien soy yo? It asks. He comments “…these are the questions…these are the important questions…I want this one.”  He asks me about the red cup, does it reference the half empty or half full philosophy, he wonders. It can. I tell him the cup is a container, as I am (mind and body). It is symbolic of me, or any person. And it contains character (spirit)…the question is…who is responsible for the content. The answer… I am.  And who determines yours…you do.

This work is an important one to me.

I love painting, and I enjoy exhibition, but I don’t expect a sale.  I don’t even think about it. I invite friends, to share in the experience. The viewer’s perception completes the artist’s conception. When someone wants a work, I am pleasantly surprised.

Veronica and Greg picked out one more work from my studio titled Linear Thought Patterns. It is part of the Wuli-Works series. Veronica thought he would like it because she said very simply “Greg, is linear.”
Greg is linear, which I suppose means he hangs out in the left hemisphere of the brain. He is analytical…rational. I will have to ask him if this is true all the time. I am creative…the right side of the brain is my comfort zone.  But I edge over to the other side too, that’s where the ideas for my work are developed.

Linear Thought Patterns

Linear Thought Patterns

Quiet, Monica Aissa Martinez

Quiet, Monica Aissa Martinez

Veronica more recently visited the Mesa Arts Center Store where they carry my small prints. She purchased a print titled Quiet. It includes a hummingbird, my symbol for the presence of Holy Spirit.
I will tell you more about Greg and Veronica in later post’s…as they continue to explore art and art making.

4 thoughts on “no woman is an island…contd.

  1. So here’s the rest of the story on “Quiet”.
    A few weeks prior to the purchase, I discovered an injured hummingbird at my home, tried to help it, hoped it would recover, but ended up burying the little guy. It was sad. It was Monica’s birthday and I shared the experience with her. We have a lot of hummingbirds in our yard. They often appear in her work; I’ve even painted one or two. Weeks pass. Monica will have prints at the Mesa Arts Store on the night of the Cheech Marin exhibit. I see them on the website and I choose one that’s disembodied limbs (reminds me of Milagro crosses). When I walk out of the store, I have the one I least expected to buy. Monica asks “why?” “Why did you change your mind?” I said I didn’t know. I liked the other two better, really. But this one was the one. She smiled, laughed, “I did that one after hearing your story with the hummingbird on my birthday.” Well, I guess it really was mine. I think of it as “spirits unite”.


  2. Pingback: no woman is an island…cont. « Monica Aissa Martinez

  3. Pingback: no woman is an island….continues | Monica Aissa Martinez

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