The Cleveland Trunk is a submission I made some years ago to a fundraiser for the world renown Cleveland Orchestra. Area artists were each given an original steamer trunk, and asked to design them for auction.
My trunk came to me a work of art already, covered in a patina of scuffs and scratches, the soft metal of the hinges and lock hammered from decades of adventure. The Cleveland Orchestra’s long history of carrying music to the world is traced in each one of these marks.
The trunk, a 1920’s OshKosh original, was used to carry the personal belongings of orchestra musicians as they traveled. When I opened this trunk I found a small sewing kit and several wrapped hotel soaps inside. The trunk sat in my living room for several months while I worked on other projects and contemplated this one. It is intended to be oriented vertically, opening to reveal a chest of drawers and a rack for hanging clothes. To create a modern functional design for the trunk, I eventually moved it onto its side, and contemplated some more.
Then I saw it: the Cleveland skyline. The trunk became what it should be, a tribute to this city, these days much maligned, but still the steward of an incredible legacy and wealth of talent in the arts.
I have to admit, Cleveland gets a bad rap (aside from the golden years of LeBron) but I am ignoring that fake news. This old trunk has been around a long time, and tells a truer tale. Yes, we have troubles and struggles and darkness, but in this city – in the people of this city – there are flickers and glimmers and even bright lights of creativity and hope and music.
This piece was created with acrylic paints, acrylic transfers and gilders’ paste. It incorporates both original sheet music used by the Cleveland Orchestra, and an original antique map of the city of Cleveland. It is sealed with acrylic varnish.