Orphalese

"The City. The Home. From the mountain, to the temple, to the body..." Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet 

Orphalese was the project and creative model that initiated the conception of Mena Woolfe.

 

An art collector having bought an artwork from an exhibition, approached me to create an entirely unique & personal piece for them.

Having painstakingly designed and chosen every element for their new home, their fridge stood conspicuously in the middle of their kitchen and entertaining area. They saw this as an opportunity to transform this everyday object into an extraordinary work of art - the finishing piece that would weave everything together and celebrate their journey in creating a new home together.

In order to make something entirely unique and personal for them we met to discuss the project further. We talked about their personal histories', their heritage, they brought visual references of places of great significance to them, artworks and key pieces in their home and their art collection and the interior design plans for their home. 

 

It became clear we shared an interest in mysticism and ritual and it came up that Id studied the tarot for many years as a tool for structuring thoughts and they asked if I'd do a reading for the project.

 

The project proposed an exciting challenge, transforming this often hidden object into an elaborate 5 panelled painting, almost a retablo or totem to the home, and a celebration of the things that give us life.

Following our meeting I spent time researching; following threads of thought, pouring through books in libraries and museums, looking at Mughal miniature paintings, medieval tapestries and making sketches that fused together styles representing their unique background.

 

I drew on flowers, animals and materials that symbolised certain things and places, all the while, with key pieces - incorporating natural materials like marble and mother of pearl - tacked up on the studio walls, and thinking about the tarot cards they'd drawn. 

When they saw the design they were delighted and we discussed how to proceed. 

Once the fridge was transported to the studio its surface was sanded down and prepared with speciality paint. The design was then mapped out by hand and every line was intricately gone over in gold. 

With the gold outline complete, every colour was then hand mixed and applied, blending it with paintbrushes and even needles where the detail was extremely intricate so as not to go over the gold.

The paint was carefully chosen for its durability to withstand wear and tear and careful cleaning.  

During the months of painting the client's came to the studio to see its progression and witness the intricate techniques involved.

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