Thursday, February 4, 2010

marie antoinette is a WHO DAT!

allow me to tell you a story.
it's a long story. a bit convoluted. it rambles a bit.
so bear with me.
it's the story of a misunderstood teenager, a female artist, a visionary, an admirer, and a magpie for anything shiny...
it started in junior high when mrs. bradley, our history teacher handed out assignments for a term paper on an historic figure.
i got marie antoinette.
in retrospect, i assume she assigned this particular figure to me because i was a bit of diva myself back in the day :)

now remember this was in the days looooooong before google, etsy, and flickr. if you wanted to look up anything you had to get your mom to take you to the library where you checked out books and went through encyclopedias.
skip ahead a few years to college. i took an art history course where we studied women artists.
vigee lebrun caught my attention. and guess who she was famous for painting... you guessed it - marie antoinette.

a few years later i found myself in this great city that i now call home. as luck would have it, the new orleans museum of art actually HAS a vigee lebrun portrait of marie antoinette. for the first 5 years or so that i lived here, i would make a yearly trek to sit in front of mademoiselle marie and not only marvel at the skill of the artist, but wonder what the woman had really been like.
my interest was still minimal, however. i never really delved into her life.
until i saw sofia coppola's MARIE ANTOINETTE.

now, i realize that the french are probably still a little ticked off about that little piece of cinematic history, but i LOVED IT!

mainly because it was so rich in color and texture. whenever i am in a bad mood or not feeling particularly inspired, i just pop that baby in the dvd player and viola! art comes rushing in!

so, after that, i picked up antonia fraser's copy of marie's biography. regrettably, it is a slow read for me. i usually keep about 5-10 books going at once and i haven't picked this one up in over a year.  it's a good book and easy to read, but i have the attention span of a 3 year old when it comes to history. i feel like i'm still in mrs. bradley's class.  i'll dig the book out soon and pick up where i left off. that's how i read. it suits me.

so, here i am with a life long interest in marie antoinette ( though, admittedly fickle) and i am living in the age of altered and collage art. so, one day last year i decided i wanted a piece of art for our new abode and i wanted it to be something marie antoinette related.

i go to ETSY. i poke around. i don't find anything i like and when i finally do, i feel that it is out of my price range.

i decide to make my own marie antoinette shadow box.

one problem - i don't know diddly about rubber stamping and collage.

but i embark on the quest to learn.

so, as i am buying stampington and co. magazines, stock piling stamps and inks, studying various techniques on youtube, looking at other artists work on flickr and ETSY, and generally having myself a grand ole time, i realize there is A LOT of work out there featuring marie antoinette. and on top of that, that most of it is so achingly beautiful that i could NEVER hope to make anything that would stand up against these artists works.
(artwork by wendy robinson)
so i don't buy one stamp or collage sheet with miss marie on it.

i take the attitude and go in the direction of  " i will be different. everyone else is making marie antoinette stuff. i will work with bombshells, freaks, and vintage movie posters".

one problem - still love anything french. still love marie antoinette.

(artwork by wendy robinson)
now jump ahead with me here, to the saints winning the NFC championship and taking their black and gold butts to the superbowl in miami. the entire city of new orleans has gone insane - in a good way.  mardi gras started early this year. every costume shop in the city is stockpiled with black and gold. we dressed up for the playoffs. you can be damn skippy we're doing for the superbowl.

so,off i go to a little costume/vintage clothing store last tuesday night to look for a coat to wear saturday night to the first parade of the season - krewe du vieux. it's a walking parade that marches through the marigny and french quarter and it also happens to be mine and mr. b's anniversary, as we met 5 years ago at this parade.
it's always colder than... well, it's cold - and i wanted something cute and clever to wear. i wasn't even thinking about black and gold.

but, i walked out of the shop with a floor length gold lame dress and a french style masquerade mask. it took about 24 hours for me to come to the conclusion that i should do a marie antoinette inspired costume. so off i went for a wig. mission accomplished. the mask is a bit nauseating to wear, so i am afraid it will have to stay in pocket most of the time. but with some gold feathers, black flowers, and plenty of glitter, i think i've got my costume.

if i don't eff it up too badly i will wear it again for mardi gras. but, i probably will, so i am looking into a back up plan.

the day after i bought the wig, i decided, the hell with it! i WILL make marie antoinette artwork!
i loaded up on marie antoinette clip art and digital collage sheets.i already had some stamps on the way.
 i've started a few ATC cards, but nothing i am proud of enough to show here.
but, i keep working at it.

honestly, i should have just bought the shadow box. i've probably spent $500 on supplies in the last 6 months, and i still don't have my art piece.

i DO have a costume. does that count?

and with that, i have told you my tale of how my life long flirtation with mademoiselle marie has led me to an obsession with altered, stamped, and collage art and to the mother of all superbowl costumes.

i think a diva like me can do her proud, don't you?!

and as for the game...LET PEYTON EAT KING CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!


Melody Marie Murray said...

Awesome story!

wendy robinson said...

I love your history with Marie Antoinette.

I know your passion for Marie will help you

to create ATCs and other collage work that

will make you very happy. There's plenty

of inspiration out there. Thanks for using my

cards for your story, it's an honor.

Kathy said...

Hi Amber, nice to meet you. Thanks for following me....
Go Saints!
Your in NOLA?????

Amber Leilani said...

yeah, kathy! geaux saints!!! we're in uptown - no place better to be, to me!!!