The Story Behind “Abundant Life” … / by Amy Rockett-Todd

 "Abundant Life" ferrotype mosaic assemblage.  MANUS portfolio.  Amy Rockett-Todd 2014.

"Abundant Life" ferrotype mosaic assemblage.  MANUS portfolio.  Amy Rockett-Todd 2014.

 Abundant Life Building on South Boulder in Tulsa, Oklahoma, built in 1957 for Oral Roberts Ministries.

Abundant Life Building on South Boulder in Tulsa, Oklahoma, built in 1957 for Oral Roberts Ministries.

My design and architecture background helps guide my artistic endeavors, which led to this new work, MANUS, combining art, architecture and photography.  With the creation of each piece, I am inspired by historic buildings in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

“Abundant Life” in the MANUS portfolio, was inspired by a building in Tulsa called Abundant Life.  It was built in 1957 to house Oral Roberts Ministries.  I found it curious that an evangelist healer would build a structure devoid of any windows.  The exterior is clad with triangular facets with small golden adornments central to the façade.  Contrary to many beliefs that gold was used symbolically for his “riches”, gold is said to be the only color that the color-blind Roberts could differentiate from all other colors. 

MANUS’ “Abundant Life” consists of 46 ferrotype triangles.  Each triangle was contact printed with an enlarger.  They are each 2.5 inches.  Alternate triangle pairs are mounted onto thick plex mounting blocks, which are acrylic-welded onto a sheet of clear plex as the final substrate.  Then matted and framed in a 3 inch thick white-washed maple box frame.  The overall framed piece measures 36x40. 

Each triangle’s imagery is an abstracted design, digitally captured from the building.  The building was abandoned in the mid 70s and has been in a continual state of decay since.  Walking around the building, smells of rotting materials escape the large rear grade-level vent, as well as from the slight overhang around the perimeter of the building.  There is a mail chute on the south side of the building that has been boarded over and has “WASTE” handwritten on it.  (This “WASTE” image is hidden on one of the “Abundant Life” triangle art pieces.)  I added hand-painted gold details on a singular triangle art piece for the golden adornment on the façade.   The triangular pieces are also falling from the building, leaving gaps on the building’s skin.  This is also reflected in the visual arrangements of “Abundant Life”. 

Most of the architecture-based pieces in the MANUS portfolio are directly born from a building's design.  It's aesthetics and structure is reflected in the way each art piece is photographed, designed, and created.