words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 01: The Park

The Park 1997

The Park 1997

Lately, I have been feeling rather nostalgic and reflective.
The essence of being an artist, or just human, I presume. Because of this there
certainly has been a sense of longing for things past, their presence
resounding in the influence of various people, periods in time, and artistic

Presently, while writing this post, I am listening to a 10
hour playlist I created of four unique ambient sound artists: Chihei
Hatakeyama, Alva Noto, Sawako, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, all of whom weave found
organic sound samples and electronics to produce dreamlike soundscapes. I
mention these artists because they are currently what I find compelling in new music.
I will share excerpts from reviews about
their music in future posts. This brings to mind that half a lifetime ago in
the year 1977, while driving from NYC to Philadelphia at 4am, I came across the
WXPN’s (University of PA) Starsend electronic music program. Listening to the
surreal sounds of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schultz was the start of many
journeys into experimental music and avant-garde arts in general.

All of this became a reflective thought and ideas for
posting this past week when I saw the film “Smithereens” by Susan Seidelman. I
have not seen this film in years. I remember first seeing it in the early 80’s
when it was first released in NYC. I was excited about coming across the film, and the opportunity of stepping back in time.

But I have been thinking about other influences of the past
as well. How perhaps music, film, festivals, theatre, family, friends travel, exhibits
and art etc., have conceptually developed the artistic vision I have.  I hope to explore this phenomenon in future
posts as well. For this posting, I am including a work of art from 1997. It is
one of my all time favorite collages. It is a large 42 x 48 inch composition
depicting the remaining memories of family reunions, during Fourth of July
picnics at the park and in Glenside, PA in the 1960’s. The title of the piece
is “The Park” and my first major showing of the work was in NYC at Agora Gallery
in Soho in 1997.

So I would like to introduce you, my blog buddies and
readers to “In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences.

Let me know what you think of the various postings, and
include your creative influences that stand out and reflect your life’s

And up next a musical playlist….

6 responses

  1. I like it very much as it reminds me of a complex quilt. Who is the woman in the photograph? Actually, as I take a closer look, there are other images there… Beautiful!
    Looking forward to the rest.

    April 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for checking out the art. The images are from my family archives. I have photographs going back to the 30’s and 40’s that I sometimes use in various works. I so enjoy sifting through and collecting these photographs. I find that the black and white photographs create a nice contrast to the color images.

      Happy Easter

      April 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm

  2. Jody

    The Park is indeed a beautiful piece, and having seen it in person I know the impact of the images at a large size. I sense that you are very in tune with current planetary shiftings, because we have just finished (yesterday) a 3.5 week reflective period with Mercury retrograde, and started a new 8-year Venus influence that is all about relationships. I had been reflecting, too, on family, friends, the past, especially looking at the them throughout the past 8 years (2003 till present)…then found myself skipping back in 8-year segments and noticing the patterns of my relationship experiences. As always, your sensitivity to the inner and outer worlds comes through in your posts and your art.

    April 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    • I am very interested in what to expect in this new 8-year Venus influence. Relationship, in the sustaining of community via family, friends etc are vital indeed. I too find my reflective experiences being broken up into various periods. I see things evolving over 10 year periods mostly.

      and Happy Easter

      April 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

  3. Perhaps the springtime makes us think of new life, in turn forcing us to long for the days gone by?

    Your piece is so intricate, makes me think of the vibrancy of Central Park.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  4. Hi Diva, funny you should mention Central Park. There is actually an image (the man sitting on the park bench) that was taken in Central Park. Also infused into that same image is the Brooklyn Bridge (a photograph I took as I drove across it back in 1988. The other park images are from Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. This piece is symbolic of a feeling of deja vu (whenever I hear the sound of plane in the distance, I am instantly transported back to those family picnics and Fourth of July celebrations).


    April 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

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