Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Peter Pan Motel

Peter Pan Motel
Photo of a vintage motel sign, digitally manipulated.
Prints, mugs, shirts, etc. here

I shot the photo of this old motel sign last month while wandering around Santa Cruz, California. I was on my way to the beachfront boardwalk amusement park there, and passed by this crumbling old motel. I loved the sign, and had to shoot it.

I've been experimenting this summer with digital enhancements to original photos. This experimentation has grown out of an interest in iPhoneography (using iPhone/iPad photo and design apps to create original work), and originally consisted of applying the visual aesthetic of iPhonepgraphy to images manipulated on my desktop computer.  It has pretty quickly moved beyond that, however, to incorporate interests in graphic design, glitch/random processes, and other things.

I work extensively in collage (both hand made and digital), but have always been somewhat reluctant to mess with the photos I take, beyond basic adjustments. Maybe it's my photographic training at work, but I've usually kept my photographic work and collage/mixed media work separate (the exception is panography, which is already kind of a collage/photograpy hybrid).  Doing this work has been freeing, as I find myself more willing to mess with my original photos than I have been in the past.

Here's the original photo, as it was shot.

As you can see, the image has been manipulated heavily. The sign itself was in fairly bad shape, and is showing it's age. I was originally planning on cleaning it up (part of my experimentation this summer has been exploring the line between photo and digital painting), but the flaws in the sign were so extensive that too much of what makes it interesting would have been lost when corrected. I removed some of the rust stains, etc. from the main panel, but left other flaws intact.

You'll notice the sign reading "Santa Cruz Summer Project" on the left (I replaced it with an asterisk in the finished version). My husband and I spent a few minutes speculating what that might be. It led to us hatching a really great idea: Find an old run down motel, and turn it into an art project. Each room would be given to an artist/designer/director, etc. to make art with. The room could be redecorated to look like a pristine vintage motel room, or completely reworked onto an installation piece. Or, it could be a setting for short, slice of life plays/vignettes about imagined guests of the motel. It would be a temporary art exhibition in a unique space. Visitors would be able to enter all of the rooms to see how they had been used. 

Upon returning home, I Googled it, and it appears that Santa Cruz Summer Project is a summer camp run by Campus Crusade for Christ. It looks like that space is no longer a motel at all. I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed-a unique site specific art installation sounds a lot more fun! If anyone knows of a small 50's or 60's era motel that's now closed, there's a great opportunity for an art project just waiting to happen.

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