Tucked away in the El Castillo caves in Spain, first discovered in the 19th century, scientists recently re-tested the hand stencils painted in one of the caves. Much to their surprise they were far older than previously thought. They were so old in fact; at an estimated 40,800 years, Neanderthals may have created the stencils. Whoever created them and for whatever reason they proclaim, “We were here and if you find this we want you know it!”
Looking at the hand stencils one can’t help but marvel at the connections across time that these simple human intimate representations signal to us. The hand, our most unique physical way of making a mark becomes the mark they make to speak to us. Who doesn’t understand a signature as universal as that? The cave painter’s accomplishments in the caves don’t stop with hands but represent the world they lived in and what mattered to them. Like other archaic cave paintings discovered throughout the world these marks speak to us about their creator’s unique abilities and leave many of us with a deep appreciation of those who came from a time so long ago. We see their incredible skills at carefully rendering elements of a world whose difficulties we can’t really imagine. They took the time to create these and surely they knew others would find them.
We all in one-way or another want to make our mark. Whether personally, or within an organization or a team we want to leave a legacy that says, “I/We did this.” The ways to do this have vastly multiplied. Communication avenues have increased like never before. There has never been a better time to make your mark and have the ability to tell the world that you have done so. Each time we create a web site or post on Facebook we are making a declaration that says this is what matters and unlike the hidden cave paintings the potential audience is unlimited.
Each Flickr photo or Pinterest post makes a statement and reaches out to others and like the cave paintings visually proclaims, “I/We care about this and want you to know it!” It’s any ones guess how long these digital proclamations will last but there is no doubting the potential reach they have in the present. Like the cover photo we created in chalk for this blog post they may easily disappear but for that short time the audience is enormous. The cave paintings on the other hand have now lasted for tens of thousands of years and have the advantage of being presented to this much wider audience. Wow, we are impressed and are glad they are still there!
As we work with others throughout the world we are continually inspired by what our customers accomplish and what they create. We are honored to help them proclaim, “We did this and we want you to know it!”
The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog
Note: Since this post was originally posted Jay passed away in December of 2015. RIP Jay, you will be missed by many! He was a big man with an even bigger heart.
We often run across great art in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. New Mexico is not only the land of enchantment but also the land of Art, and yes with a capital “A”. Inspiring works of art can be found at every turn, from roadside creations to galleries, art is a big part of what makes the area tick culturally and economically.
One day in July, Mari ran across a fellow working in his yard on something we at Ar(totems) Co. of course have a great appreciation for, Totem Poles. Since then we know the creator of these Totems is Jay Womack and we have begun representing him online and elsewhere. See his new Facebook page here: Jay Womack – Artist
Jay comes from a background of construction and fine woodworking. Like his totems he strikes a large imposing figure despite his amiable personality. After a couple of beers and a good conversation we realized his talent and his attitude fit well with our mission and representing him would be a pleasure. Jay’s great-grandmother was a Native American and while not all of his work is traditional much of it has the stunning impact a totem pole can have. Unlike many traditional artistic sculptures totem poles typically have specific meaning based on cultural and familial or group relationships. They are most closely associated with the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. The scholar Eddie Malin has proposed that totem poles progressed from house posts, funerary containers, and memorial markers into symbols of clan and family wealth and prestige.
A Bit About Totem Poles
“The meanings of the designs on totem poles are as varied as the cultures that make them. Totem poles may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. Some poles celebrate cultural beliefs, but others are mostly artistic presentations. Certain types of totem poles are part of mortuary structures, and incorporate grave boxes with carved supporting poles, or recessed backs for grave boxes. Poles illustrate stories that commemorate historic persons, represent shamanic powers, or provide objects of public ridicule.” Wikipedia
We Need One
Given the work that Jay does and our appreciation of it we had to work a deal out with Jay to create a totem pole for us. It just makes sense, eh? When it’s done we’ll feature it here. In the meantime here are a few photos of his current projects. Also check back here to find his new website soon.
Jay's Current Work
Sharing our creative efforts, work and travel.