Why Art Mr Mardis?

Why Art…Folk Art…Leather…Reused Things…Everyday Things…Patchwork Quilts…Metal and Brass…Rocks…Long Grasses…Blocks and Strips of Wood…Candle holders and Beads…Why Use The Faces of Everyday, Round-the-Way Folks? What makes this stuff that people throw out and forget about…”Art”

As a child growing up in the Arkansas cities of Little Rock and ElDorado between both sets of Grandparents, I knew the intimacy of storytelling and quilting. In the midst of those graces were the worlds of seeing what is beautiful and wonderful in the everyday things that surrounded those houses and people. 

There is a terrific experience in watching old men whittle and carve away at a piece of drift wood until it becomes a gift…or a toothpick. There is always a use for wheels from exhausted lawn mowers, bicycles and even the long ago wagon wheels that still dot the Southern landscapes as mail box stands. There is a beauty in the discarded braided switches that mimicked the restored bottoms of chairs. There is a beauty in old hub caps at the end of the garden row and how they sing when hit by raindrops in a Summer storm.

I am an Artist trying to recall the voices, faces and histories that make up the days that we call time. Along the way of my own days I have added a few new tools to pocket knife, hub caps, reused wheels and other discarded items with memories to tell. 
I work in fabrics with memory: thrift store treasures with worn edges and softly faded colors and patterns. I relish household metals like candle holders and woven mesh baskets for their permanence and representative strengths, like old men and older stories. I dismantle jewelry and collage those parts with various fabrics and other pieces because those parts have a life of their own. A bracelet touches a woman’s wrist entirely, but only a section touches her partner’s arm, shirt or gets to brush against his face. I turn wooden bed lifters into ornamented brass-topped candle holders because their version of the life story is perspective changing.

I trust that memory drives my creativity. I see it everywhere and in everything. I try to bring it forward in every creative effort.