Reflections by the Artist on
“Words into Dreams” Words become many things. Words are instructions and information. Words are lies and words are truth. Words are just a medium to craft beautiful works of art. Words hold our dreams and give them back to us full of hope and soaked in magic.
This community art piece standing on the Delmar Loop in front of Subterranean Books brings books to life. Is she Marie Antoinette, or Marian the Librarian? She is the keeper of a "take-a-book leave-a-book" bookshelf that adorns the front of her court gown.
The artists S. Jewell S. McGhee and Nikki Leeper collaborated to make this artwork for Mannequins on the Loop 2015 and representing the business Subterranean Books.
S. Jewell S. McGhee
Mannequins on the Loop 2015
One of the Great St. Louis Independent Bookstores6275 Delmar Boulevard, On the Loop
Artists: S. Jewell S. McGhee and Nikki Leeper
2735 Ellendale Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63143
S. Jewell S. McGhee
Jewell is an artist who has come to be known also as an author. She often writes a reflection to go with her art pieces and has been paraphrasing the psalms for many years.
About the Artist
S. Jewell S. McGhee likes to call her art “painting with pencils.” She first started using colored pencils to help her mother write names on lunch bags for school. “My mom would pick matching themes for the names on our bags; all balloons, or sunrises, or sometimes just geometric shapes. She always made them so beautiful; a plain brown bag lunch was, all at once, a love note, a story, a hug, and simple colors to enlighten us for the rest of the day.” These bags also became a constant reminder that art was simple, attainable, and a necessary part of every day.
“I always start with a story.” Every time you hear a story you have a physical (tears, a chuckle, or a smile) or mental (confusion, contentment) reaction which is unable to be explained in words alone. “I like to use abstract art as a medium to dive deeply into the complicated mess of a story and discover something more about it and about myself.” She follows the flow of a story and finds the shapes and colors that express its fundamental emotions and questions.
Jewell uses her art to interpret the stories of Shakespeare, the newspaper, the Bible, and her own life. “As I grapple with Hamlet, I see lines-sharp and violent-cutting through relationships and into love. There is red: obviously for blood, but also for love (a riddle itself). A golden crown, a golden son; a golden sun breaking through ghosts, clouds, and lives to reveal blackness and blood.” How black is the blackness of hate? What texture is grace? What shape is confusion, or desperation, or promise? These are the questions these pieces ask.