Post-Sepia Assemblages

“Lady Lovelace,” by Bobbi Polizzi, is an assemblage using an old-fashioned photo. At an upcoming workshop, she’ll show folks how to transform their own long-gone relatives.

Recycled art gets hotter every year. Sculptors re-shape scavenged metal, collagists scour old magazines for striking images, and painters texturize their canvases with found debris. It’s such a common practice by now that some work has begun to look a bit interchangeable.

But that’s never an issue with Bobbi Polizzi — let’s just say this celebrated Hendersonville artist was Dumpster diving before it was cool. The global traveler culls from her background in art history and a career creating images for seminal artists (she did pre-production for Prince’s Purple Rain album), plus her own Gothic imagination, to elevate the art of the “assemblage” to elite status. The heads of “demented dolls,” liberated crucifixes, old army songbooks — all make their way into her altar-like pieces.

On Saturday, May 14, at Random Arts in Saluda, Polizzi will allow others a peek at her process when she leads “Altered Photos,” a day-long workshop where participants use their vintage photographs as the base of inspiration. Old-timey snapshots of faded relatives can be resurrected with paint, surface applications, and a surge of imagination.

I inherited an old family cabinet-card album from the 1880s,” Polizzi tells Bold Life. “I had no idea who these relatives of mine were, and there was no one to ask. Their history was lost. So I made up stories about them for my children. They became queens, buccaneers and pirates, captains of industry, saints and scoundrels. Those same stories inspire my art today — turning stiff, somber images into imaginary relations. They were once lost to anyone’s memories, and now they have a new life.”

Altered Photos Workshop with Bobbi Polizzi, Saturday, May 14, 10am-4pm. $75. Random Arts, 481 Louisiana Ave., Saluda. Call 828-749-1165 for more information.

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