It all started with a piano. A plain, brown nondescript piano that would transform into a modern work of art at the hands of the artists of CECA. In early 2012 we received an invitation to be part of the international project “Play Me, I’m Yours” by British artist Luke Jerram. Over 700 pianos have been installed in public spaces around the world for anyone and everyone to play at will. 30 pianos were destined for the Los Angeles area as part of collaboration between local artists, musicians, and the public. Each piano would become a unique piece of art placed in public places throughout the Southland to be played in unison at noon on April 12th. The pianos would remain available to the public until May 3rd, and then each would be donated to schools, programs, and organizations in need. ASD was selected among many worthy candidates to receive and collaborate on one of the 30 pianos. This is where the journey of the piano and the artists of CECA begin.
I have been an art instructor at CECA for almost 2 years. We have experimented with almost every medium from painting, fiber, ceramics to underwater basket weaving (ok, maybe not the underwater basket weaving).Through our experiments in different media I found a special connection between my students and the art of the found object. The beauty of found object art is taking everyday items and turning them on their heads so to speak, finding new purpose for someone else’s trash. This shared love for turning toasters into sculptures and the contents of the kitchen junk drawer into robots inspired the imagination of my students and the design for our piano.
Painting the piano and covering it with a random assortment of found objects from sets of silverware to plastic animals created an amazing, organic creative process between students and staff. We all left our mark on that old, brown piano. Over the course of a few months of hard work and dedication by my students the piano underwent a metamorphosis of sorts and emerged a bright, playful and conversation sparking piece that would make Marcel Duchamp proud.
Stephanie Escobar, art instructor