CMA Inspired Cremation UrnFree access to art is good for the economy.
When people talk about fine art degrees being a waste and artists being lazy and ditzy I clap back.
Come watch me work. Few could keep up. Long hours? Late nights? Repetitive tasks? Innumerable failures before success? Dangerous materials and PPE? Just part of most artists' day-to-day.
I can demonstrate the disruptions I have created in the field in which I have chosen to practice my vocation.
This is not an anomaly among creatives. We deliver tectonic shifts in markets, styles, and cultures - often on a leash and at the behest of others. We may not all have natural business acumen to speak of, but adaptability is a typical characteristic that helps us learn what we need as we need to.
My journey began with a desire to be an illustrator. Despite the advice to not incur the expense of a private school, my gut told me that The Cleveland Institute of Art was going to provide an incomparable experience. I was not wrong. What I did not realize was how important the proximity of The Cleveland Museum of Art was going to be to my journey.
At the time, CIA was a five-year program and the first two years were spent in a traditional Renaissance style training. The 18.5 credits a semester immersion in the study and practice of Art, Design, and Craft was brutally rich beyond words. Medical students at CWRU would be out partying while we were still in studios building and breaking our egos while wearing our fingerprints off.
One of the most valuable aspects of this education was the liberal arts classes consisting first of four semesters of Art History. This wasn’t just about memorizing artist names and work titles. Understanding social contexts and comparing works from different and even the same time periods weaved a web of inspiration, reference, and pattern.
The Cleveland Museum of Art prior to art school was always a place that was a delight to visit. Armed with my own struggles to develop as an artist and a newfound understanding of how I relate to all who have come before me, CMA transformed into a temple.
World-class inspiration, hope, and reference were just across the street - like an additional support structure to which young minds could hang possibility.
When the refurbishing of the courtyard was completed in 2008, the space was so amazing to behold. As a maker of objects, I fixated on the use of thick slab lumber in a linear pattern contrasted with a dark background on the second story of the courtyard.
“I am going to make a cremation urn like that”… in celebration of re-opening and my love for this institution in my hometown that I am so grateful to have access to.
The quote in my previous sentence is something that I say to my internal self often. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but it never comes from nowhere. Other artists, designers, craftspeople, and cultures feed my output.
With the success of Memento Memorials’ second production cremation urn line called “The Meta Cremation Urn”, I have become more confident in continuing to bring Art, Design, and Craft to remembrance. We are growing and will soon be hiring. We bring a small bit of relief to other humans who are in the worst devastation of their lives. Every part of our fabrication and sourcing happens in Northern Ohio.
An artist bootstrapped this into existence…
…with the support of grants and funding that made my exposure to CMA and part of my tuition at CIA possible. Consider supporting the Cleveland Museum of Art or any other fine arts institution you love. I cannot promise that it will provide a better tomorrow, but my story and the bright future of Memento Memorials is evidence that it is possible.