Sebastian Martorana

[Soft Step: Lil Rocker; salvaged marble row home step]

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Soft Step: Lil Rocker, 2013

Salvaged Beaver Dam marble, former row home step, 8" x 32" x 13"

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In the Soft Step series I am seeking to speak to the importance of home, community, place, and culture. I wish to spotlight the destruction and loss of these things in the course of demolishing the historical and original residences in my city and my own neighborhood. These pieces are made of the castoff and forever scarred stair steps of these once tight-knit row homes. I feel that the marble stoops of these buildings are a symbol of home in a sense that is broader and deeper than just a building. However, the loss of this place that fosters so much interaction and comfort with one’s neighborhood is a metaphor for the disinterest in those things that were once held dear.

It is fulfilling to me to at least attempt to make something beautiful and comfortable out of something that has become dirty or ugly or broken or forgotten or cast away. Not every pretty marble sculpture starts out as a pristine block of crisp and sparkling stone. We all sit together in our houses on these pieces of furniture. These stoops are really just the exterior equivalent of that. I want to take these cast off bits of architecture and give them a second act to be appreciated and stand in for comfort in ones home. The first of these pieces was based on our family room couch, the second one was based on our nursery room rocker.

Lil’ Rocker, is based on the awesome little rocking chair in our son’s nursery. We have both spent a lot of hours in that chair feeding our little guy . . . and I noticed that, since we are both right handed, we inevitably sit on the right side of the chair, with him on the left, holding the bottle with our right hand. This has caused the cushion to take on this odd wave-like shape (though I am trying to make a point to remember to rotate it regularly).

The chair is basically dark grey, but since we knew better than to get a baby chair with out a pattern, we chose one with a kind of paisley pattern. Patterns hide stains. I felt that this pattern was really an essential part of Lil’ Rocker’s character, so trying to incorporate it subtly, as not to allow the pattern to overpower the form, presented a real challenge. But I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and it opens up some interesting possibilities for future works.

Artworks by Sebastian Martorana

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