The Afterlife of a Guitar.

Revealing an old guitar's true soul

By Karen Hollowell
By Karen Hollowell
By Karen Hollowell

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My process begins with finding abandoned, broken guitars. You’d think that would be easy but it took me six months of trolling Craigslist and thrift stores as I don’t want to destroy any working guitars. So, I bought dead guitars from the Salvation Army, a yoga studio– and the coolest was a guy who knew a dumpster diver who came up with two! Finallly I smartened up and went to a manufacturer and a guitar repairman. Both my house and studio are now full of old, un-functioning guitars in various forms of disrepair.

Then I begin to sketch out my plan for a particular piece. Once I have a sketch I then remove all of the hardware. Then I strip the varnish off. Disgusting and smelly! One of the toughest things to do is saw the neck. Who knew that most guitar necks have a solid steel bar running through them? My husband gets to do that part.
Once the guitar is cut into the right pieces I lay it out to match my sketch. Then I glue, screw, molly bolt it into place onto the wood backing. After that, once it’s new form has taken place I use plaster to fill in the gaps. Then I add black primer mixed with plaster to fill in certain areas. Then plaster the cracks. And only then can I start painting.

Now the art in it’s newly assembled form is ready to paint. This is when I explore the soul of this “broken lady”; to give her a new life in a different form. Every guitar has its own history and my goal is to deconstruct its past and then give it a new life that still reflects its true character. Lately I have branched out into resins. Very smmelly and messy to produce. But the end result on the Nude woman is very sexy high gloss.

This particular piece is “Juke Joint Blues”

And now the art for the 2013 Blues foundation Award Poster

The originals are now shown in at Vintage 329 gallery.
329 Royal St, New Orleans, LA. Just in Time for Jazz Fest!

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Karen Hollowell