Oh,  well, how to start? or better yet, where to start?

I know, by simply stating the obvious: my perception of Mayme. Let me describe little by little how this cover picture and new image of this great artist happened and how the story unfolded.

The magazine cover.

Cover Girl
Cover Girl Mayme Kratz seated on top of one of her art pieces.
A recent afternoon, I received a call from Mr. Robert Sentinery, editor and publisher of JAVA magazine (a local magazine dedicated to covering and promoting the local art, cuisine, artists and culture of Phoenix) asking me a simply question. The message on the voicemail asked, ” Oscar, I am giving contemporary plastic artist Ms. Mayme Kratz the next cover of our magazine, and we will have an article on her as well. I know you two are good friends and you have collaborated in the past with her image and some other projects. Do you have any input about this cover and the photoshoot?”

I simply stood back and thought, “What? Me? Say something about that? I have everything to say about it! And I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time…”

Why?, Well, my relationship with Mayme goes way back.

Times with Mayme
Left: (L) Mrs. Irma Deihl, (C) Ms. Nicole Reyes, (R) Ms. Mayme Kratz pose for my camera outside the banquet hall at the Biltmore Hotel to attend “One n Ten” brunch 2013.
Center: Ms. Mayme Kratz attends an intimate dinner party at our home to celebrate Gary’s birthday.
Right: (L) Ms. Mayme Kratz, (R) Mr. Gary Jackson posing for the camera with a present for my birthday at a hats and bow tie luncheon at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Times with Mayme
Left: Attending a soiree at Mr. Treg Bradley’s residence for Gnosis, nd to talk about Ms. Kratz new documentary (http://www.gnosisltd.org). In the background is a painting by Mr. Fausto Fernandez, and photo by Mr. Joe Janovsky.
Right: A candid picture of Ms. Kratz in front of the Tumbleweed Bower – an art installation at the “Ice House” in Phoenix, Arizona.
Perhaps, further than she ever expected. I was given the opportunity to talk about Mayme and her art  during a presentation at SMoCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) when the curator was not able to appear due to health reasons. This evening was scripted by our program coordinator for the SMoCA Lounge, Ms. Tania Katan – and it was a distinctive event. This was the second round of the event called  Wrestling for Art, a unique idea to create a program to benefit the museum, while creating a nightlife event inside the Lounge.  The idea behind the very fun evening was to win an arm wrestling contest and the prize was a piece of art – and this particular evening, the art piece was by my Mayme.

Part of the evening’s usual schedule includes a preliminary introduction of the artist of the evening – and since I was a last minute replacement, I had to use a set of slides for my talk which had been prepped for the curator.

But even with a script I did not prepare, I knew what to say, which tone and what sequence, and the best of my rhetoric got a rehearsal eight hours prior the engagement. Unfortunately, my talk had to be cut short, since it was not the main purpose of the evening – I had only a certain amount of time to address the crowd, present the art and get them excited about the artist, as well as the art and the winning piece. But I had to end the talk prematurely, which left me feeling incomplete.  I had so much more to cover in terms of definition, scale, study of color, transparency, gravity of elements and so many other subjects I have studied secretly about Mayme’s art.

(This short video that Gary took of me will give you an idea of how much I was submerged into the moment, and how I had to be stopped graciously (as usual) by our SMoCA Lounge host Tania Katan.)

Over Dark Water, 36x36, resin, bones, feathers, flowers on panel, 2010
Over Dark Water, 36×36, resin, bones, feathers, flowers on panel, 2010

artichoke cube
artichoke cube

Circle Dream 34, 36%22 x 36%22, resin and bird of paradise seeds on panel, 2011
Circle Dream 34, 36%22 x 36%22, resin and bird of paradise seeds on panel, 2011

poppy study
poppy study

growing orbit # 5
growing orbit # 5

Across the velvet dark
Across the velvet dark
I always had the idea to get to talk about Mayme somehow. So, the day I received that voicemail from Robert, I knew I had a responsibility to carry out this vision.

When I got back with Mr. Sentinery, I was told that the scheduled photographer for the shoot with Mayme was Mr. Chris Loomis, and my artistic heart grinned from ear to ear. What an opportunity! To pair my favorite artist along with the photographer which I had the pleasure to collaborate with previously in some other artistic projects, who is also a photographer with whom I have a tremendous aesthetic affinity – made for the potential for a great formula.

As I always do (and probably more so for this occasion), I visited Mayme in her studio,and sat for what I call “the vision”, which is an analysis of how she sees herself. What message did she want people to perceive of her? What specifically did she want to highlight out of her personality? How did she want to be portrayed?

Her Studio
Designed in collaboration with AIA Architect Mr. Mark Ryan. This space in downtown Phoenix breathes Mayme and her art. Her love of minimal requires a constant cleaning and organizing, but within the clean and organized studio, all the little natural elements she captures within her art are simply displayed, laying there waiting for their moment to resurrect their beauty again.

We both have a passion for the ability some artists have to portray themselves within their art, within their pieces, inside their pieces, living with them, wearing them, be part of them. That conversation took place long ago while hiking and I took some pictures of her within the environment – which in the end –  is part of her media. The artist that came to mind for both of us as we discussed the concept was the very rebellious French-American artist Ms. Louise Bourgeois.

Louise Bourgeois
During our long conversation about art, architecture, design, and the life of an artist, Mayme and myself looked at this French-American sculptor artist as the example of idea, expression and persona.
Her momentum has never ended as her work was always autobiographical, and now we are lucky to have her legacy.
So, that was our inspiration, and so I sketched  some ideas and Mayme and I agreed originally on three very specific ideas. And in contrast to some other subjects of shoots, the production was easy – very easy – our discussion had no conflict as somehow we share an artistic connection. Once I presented the concept to Mr. Loomis, he understood and shared more and more ideas, so the combination was one needed and wanted.

So, on a Sunday afternoon and accompanied by soft euro-chill music, the five hour photoshoot took place. (Below are some of the photos from that day, and while some made it to the printed edition, this blog contains some remarkable shots that were never published.)

Sketching Shoot
These were the preliminary ideas we discussed and my usual to-do list for whomever I am working.
Her hair was a key factor  in the shoot, as I always loved her curls and my direction to Ms. Louise Jay were very specific in terms of volume, shine and expression needed to surround her energy.

Testing the Light
The moment and the emotion of the moment were simply magic and everyone could feel it. Her expression is simply priceless.
Nesting: I wanted to include Mayme’s art in the shots, as part of her reality. Prior to the shoot, I had asked if she could make a necklace made out of her signature birds nests, and I wanted to have different light exposures to highlight the elements along with, as well as independently from the artist. The technique of “chiaroscuro” was one I wanted to produce, so Mr. Loomis and I myself looked for the right background needed to create that effect.

Supermodel Mayme
This lighting creates a supermodel effect – a hint of glamour within the objects with which she works constantly. That was the idea.
Ms. Kratz is wearing her own creation of a bird nest necklace and elements interlocked with wire from her installation “Tumbleweed Bower”.

Nest Necklace
This is the lighting I had in mind for this portrait: a chiaroscuro effect.

Perfect Lighting
The mood and the accent on the lighting seduced me. This is what I would call art/glam. Simply stunning!

The Wind
Serendipity is a great help on shoots, the cinematic motion offered by the wind was one not to be missed.
And I had also requested to have at least one little nest to use as a headpiece.

Natural Hair Embellishment
Ms. Kratz wearing the elements she usually works with and elevating them to a the level of glamour beauty.
Wearable: The curved metal seed pods frame she had designed sometime ago, were perfect for a vest.

Magic Light
This quick take with my phone allowed me to see the connection between the red elements on her jewelry, the necklace which supported the vest…and her lips. We matched the hue and tones of all of them as best we could.

Mas Mayme
The transparency and translucency of her art had to be highlighted, so Mr. Loomis moved the subject to highlight the object. Here Ms. Kratz is posing with a mock-up of an installation that was in progress at the time of this shoot.

Dos Maymes
How to choose? I decided to create a dyptic. The desired mystery is still there and the red lace breaks the seriousness of the moment.

Mayme's favorite
Bronze casting of fairy duster seed pods.


Creations: She has a series of jewelry pieces produced from her “Tumbleweed Bower” installation, and I wanted her to use them as part of the original plan of wearing your art. Below is a bracelet she made, and in the pictures above, she is wearing the matching earrings.

Wearing her own jewels and a metal casting, Ms. Kratz poses with her own element within her own environment.
Art and Person: As part of the inclusion of here art with her presence, I also requested one of her large pieces to use  as a canvas on the floor – and place Mayme as the center object.

My Shadow
The perfect mistake in the shoot.
My shadow is present in this frame, and the photographer requested that we leave it as a presence in the moment.
The glass balls on on the floor, strategically placed on top of each of the elements embedded in the piece below are the same natural elements cast at one time in glass. These were some of the earlier experiments of Ms. Kratz of how to stop time, how to encase nature, how to condense life.

Within the Art
This is the original picture, the original drawing, as planned and as photographed.
Cover shot: Since the magazine for these shots has a square format, and the moment I saw this piece – I knew it would be perfect for the cover.

Cover Girl
Cover Girl
Thank you, my Mayme for allowing me to create that vision we both shared. Thank you, Mr. Robert Sentinery for the opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Chris Loomis for your talents. Thank you to Ms. Louise Jay for your MUA abilities. And thank you, Ms. Irma Deihl for your positive, precise and dedicated assistance.

A great team!

DISCLAIMER:  Written perceptions os moments and experiences condensed on this blog post,  styling , and images are exclusive for the use of Oscar De las salas under www.whatwouldoscardo.com. Any use, copy, crop/paste action, or any similarity of this material is strictly prohibited unless authorized by http://www.whatwouldoscardo.com or by Author. All Copyright laws for internet or media use are applicable. If you want, need or require any of this material for any reason please contact my agent – Always in style – Oscar.

2 replies to “PORTRAYING MAYME

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star