New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) May 04, 2012
One year ago, an idea was born to turn an upright piano damaged by Hurricane Katrina into something magnificent and valuable by having the keys signed by local, legendary musicians. That idea has morphed into an historic and captivating piece of art, thanks in no small part to countless volunteers and world-renowned artist Stephan Wanger. The Louisiana Legends Art Piano features 88 keys that have been signed by musicians with great love for Louisiana, including Fats Domino, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Harry Connick, Jr., Chubby Carrier, Dr. John, Donald Harrison Jr, Trombone Shorty, and countless more.
"The incredible accomplishments by over 30 Grammy award winning musicians that signed the keys was a humbling and nerve wrecking experience, and weighted heavily on me when I was thinking about the design for the Piano," said Stephan Wanger, a German born mosaic artist living in New Orleans. Wanger added that, "My theme for the work is - stars inspiring youth - and the choice of a classical midnight blue in order not to distract from the signed keys."
Stephan Wanger, whose chosen medium is recycled Mardi Gras beads, has adorned the piano in beads creating a beautiful and intricate mosaic. The piano is not a working instrument, but rather a collectible art piece. However, each component of the piano can be removed without damaging the art work should the winner choose to restore the piano to its original musical capacity. Included with the piano is a book that lists every artist that signed the keys with a short biography of each one.
Instruments A Comin’ (IAC) is Tipitina’s Foundation’s annual benefit concert and auctions featuring the best of New Orleans’ music, food, and art. The goal of the IAC program is to increase youth participation in the Greater New Orleans area school and after school music programs by providing high quality instruments. IAC is an ongoing program now in its eleventh year and has purchased $2.5 million dollars worth of instruments for over 4,000 students in more than 75 schools. 100% of the proceeds from the benefit and from the Louisiana Legends Art Piano goes toward buying instruments for the schools and after-school programs.
Link to the online auction: http://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/Item.action;jsessionid=+beV4pp+h8iS4Cdw8kpwEQ**.app3-i?id=159768494
Artists who have signed keys:
- Fats Domino • Bonnie Raitt • Aaron Neville • Art Neville • Charmaine Neville • Irma Thomas • The Funky Meters • Allen Toussaint • Harry Connick Jr • Ani DiFranco • Kermit Ruffins • George Porter Jr • Deacon John • Irvin Mayfield • Dr. John • Dr Michael White • Nicholas Payton • Ellis Marsalis • Terence Blanchard • Jeremy Davenport • Stanton Moore • Donald Harrison Jr • Dave Malone (Radiators) • Camile Baudoin (Radiators) • Delfeayo Marsalis • Ben Jaffe (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) • Jon Cleary • Harold Battiste • Johnny Vidocovich • Leah Chase • Germaine Bazzle • Ike Stubblefield • Tony Hall & Dumpstaphunk • Chubby Carrier • Del McCoury • Henry Gray • Fred Wesley • Alfred "Uganda" Roberts • Zigaboo Modeliste • Al "Carnival Time" Johnson • Joe Krown • Dirty Dozen Brass Band • Tony Dagradi • Robert Mecurio (Galactic) • Richard Vogel (Galactic) • Ben Ellman (Galactic) • Jeff Raines (Galactic) • Margie Perez • Tom McDermott • Amanda Shaw • Hot 8 Brass Band • Tab Benoit • Harry Connick Sr • Derrick Tabb (Rebirth Brass Band) • Stafford Agee III (Rebirth Brass Band) • Mia Borders • Watermelon Slim • Big Sam's Funky Nation • John Gros (Papa Grows Funk) • Uncle Lionel Batiste • Super Chikan • Phillip Manuel • Josh Garrett • Johnny Sansone • Meschiya Lake • Jesse McBride • Luke Winslow-King • Bonerama • Lena Prima • The Revivalists • Trombone Shorty • Ying Yang Twins • Bruce Daigrepont • Jamil Sharif • Mark Meaux (Mercy Brothers) • Wilson Savoy (Pine Leaf Boys) • Ann Savoy • Luther Kent • Chris Stafford (Feufollet) • Cedric Watson (Bijou Creole) • Ron Rona (New Orleans Bingo! Show) • Clint Maedgen (New Orleans Bingo! Show) • Idris Muhammad • Sunpie Barnes • DJ Soul Sista • Walter "Wolfman" Washington • Chris Severin • Will Smith (Palmetto Bug Stompers) • James Rivers • Anders Osborne • John Fohl • Terrance Simien • David Egan • Sonny Landreth • Detroit Brooks • Louis Michot (Lost Bayou Ramblers) • Topsy Chapman • Wayne Toups • And more to come!
About Stephán Wanger, Artist
Stephan Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Working in a photo-realistic style, Mr. Wanger re-creates scenes, images, and icons of Louisiana to help bring awareness to the world of the innate beauty and wonder of the state's unique culture and varied communities.
Through his experiences traveling the world, Mr. Wanger has gained insight and influence from the Spanish Art Nouveau designs of Antoni Gaudi, the Moorish and Persian architectural details in Istanbul, Turkey, and the the sculpture and environmental art of Chicago artist and friend John David Mooney. These designs and images have translated to his work in pattern, design and fine detail. Though Mr. Wanger is not formally trained as an artist, he engages in a craft that speaks to fine art, borrowing the ideals of Post-Impresssionistic Pointillism and emulating the style and scale of Roy Lichtenstein's Pop-Art works. By approaching each piece with superior craftsmanship, Mr. Wanger has elevated what might be considered kitsch because of the whimsical materials he uses, and brings a level of "high art" to his craft.
In preparation for the formal construction of each piece, beads are meticulously sorted by size down to the exact millimeter and perfect shade, creating a detailed and varied palette much like a painter would for painting. The resulting play of light and color recalls several Post-Impressionistic artists' works while adding a new dimension of glitter and shine through the use of metallic, plastic and luminescent beads. The illusion of three-dimensional space is often created through the use of perspective but also the variety of sizes of the beads he uses to create actual dimension add an element of bas-relief. The finished works are stunning to regard both from distance and upon close inspection of his fine craftsmanship.
In January of 2012 - Stephan Wanger completed a Guinness World Record for the World's largest mosaic called "Sanctuary of Alegria" a 8' x 30' large mural that depicts the skyline of New Orleans.
Part of Mr. Wanger's goal is in using recycled materials for his pieces. Not only does he collect discarded beads throughout Mardi Gras in an effort to clean post-parade debris, but also, he regularly visits salvage yards to gather additional materials for his work. Through his art, Mr. Wanger hopes to inspire the citizens of Louisiana to recycle and to create, and the the rest of the world to appreciate and gain fondness for the unique culture and natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer. The exhibit is called "A Million Greetings from New Orleans."
Mr. Wanger's mosaics works can be seen at Galeria Alegria at 1924 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, or online at http://www.galeriaalegria.com.