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GRETCHEN GREEN

Big, small, or medium-sized, the breed does not matter to me.  I’m as happy creating a metal collage of a Great Dane as a Chihuahua, a slender dachshund as a chunky bulldog.  Dogs are a big theme of mine. They're so full of expression.  Somewhere in their DNA is the training I received working in experimental theater in New York, when among other things, I once studied mask-making with Julie Taymor, the Tony-award director.  Today I assemble my collages from metal salvaged from commercially printed steel and aluminum cans, trays and boxes.

I began creating metal collages when I lived in New York City. Although making things has been a part of my life since childhood. I was not always an artist. Raised in Miami, I was lured to the Big Apple by the 1965 World's Fair. After a stint as a secretary and a dozen years at Pan American Airlines, I found a show-biz job at La Mama E.T.C. (Experimental Theatre Club), the oldest off-off-Broadway theater in existence.  It was run by one of the most dynamic women in theater, Ellen Stewart.

Life at La Mama was exciting, often hectic and sometimes unpredictable. In addition to my managerial duties, I was ready to jump in when necessity and a flair for art demanded it.  I made a lot of props.  I made a lot of masks.  Ellen Stewart was into the great classics – everyone had masks, referring to the traditions of ancient Greek and Asian theater.  My creations even made it to Broadway by way of La Mama. In 1989, when the AIDS crisis was ravaging the ranks of New York's artistic community, playwright Harvey Fierstein wrote, directed and acted in Safe Sex, a trilogy of one-act plays and I made the major sculptures for the production.

I began to create art for myself when I got into metal collage about fifteen years ago when I made “coffee cows”.  I was making cows out of coffee cans. When the painted coffee cans disappeared I shifted into making animals from all kinds of cans and tins… even olive oil cans.   “Pressured” into making cats I recently took a dive into making pieces of the feline species.  

You can reach me at: gretchengreen@gmail.com

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