Tuesday, February 24, 2009

East Martello Art

The East Martello Museum, of which I wrote previously, has a wing devoted to local artists, and of those two in particular struck my fancy. Stanley Papio lived in the Upper Keys and settled there after he had a career as a welder. His artwork developed from his passion for found objects and he took a fancy to welding them together to create objects of whimsy:The story goes that Papio's neighbors were none too excited about his welded junk lining the Highway, but he didn't much care it seems.And the way these things go, before too long the welder became an icon:And the East Martello has a number of these "culturally important artworks" in it's collection:The other artist on permanent display is Mario Sanchez who died in 2005 and who, like Papio came to his art later in life. Sanchez took to making wood carvings, intaglios, of Key West life. Including a picnic at the East Martello Tower:He carved street scenes from memory, and made three dimensional the Key West of his childhood, remembering the merchants, the buildings and the activities of Key West long ago. These wood blocks are much more vibrant and immediate than the posed stiff black and white photographs of the era:Funnily enough Sanchez himself springs to life out of a simple black and white photo:He drew his ideas on old paper bags before committing them to wood:And then he went to town with all the finely carved details, like this scene from a cigar factory:I particularly liked the caption on the wall: "...in Spanish English or Bahamian..." The mind boggles, and ponders the life and times of Mario Sanchez.