It took me a good three weeks to map out the story this piano would tell onto its many faces
It would be delicate vibrant and a show piece, much like Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag
Hopefully a show stopper, like Josephine
Design concepts: 1. piano preservation 2. alternative histories 3. color 4. Art Deco 5. portraiture 6. nakedness 7. Joplin meets Josephine
2. alternative histories: Ragtime Battles Blackface
It all started with the red of Joplin’s Maple leaf rag and the yellow of Jo’s banana skirt. And then I filled it in with splashes of every hot color found in nature in between 😉 it’s a piano featuring the richness of Nature and the lux in Jo’s scanty costumes. Mostly the colors that compliment the beautiful browns of dark skins 😉
4. Art Deco
The stainglass was the sky blue that throws all the hot colors in relief – that familiar crisp autumn sky. Also, a nod to the beaux artes of the arts and crafts movement framing the art deco era. You know, Jo came to Paris in the same year that a giant exhibition there coined the term “Art deco” ?
6. “I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on.” – Josephine Baker
So I kept her without any clothes on. She reinvented the way the black female body can be viewed. And against all odds, she was on burlesque stages presenting a desexualized nymph-like angly dark body with comedic faces on stage – ha!
7. Joplin meets Jo
And I wanted so desparately for them to meet. They were never professional contemporaries. Jo was just getting her start when Joplin passed. But I’m fairly sure Jo was tickled dancing to his music. She would have been a big fan. Need to do more research.
This is the fun of this sort of project, no? You can research. You can interpret. If I can get one youth to look them up or be inspired to explore another history they are curious about for a paper, I’d be happy 😉