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Art Show: Waxing Lyrical

We Three Kings

by Shawn Marie Hardy

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Art: We Three Kings by Artist Shawn Marie Hardy
"We Three Kings" is a collage piece, and a play on words, after the well known Christmas carol of the same title. This was going to be the only song used for the piece, but having also stumbled upon Elvis's song, "Life," I found it hard to choose just one, so I chose both to work with.

Elvis Presley, known by many as the "King of Rock and Roll," portrays all three kings here. He and his lookalikes have traversed afar on their Triumph motorcycles bearing themselves as gifts. Elvis plays God, or the creator, and his creations are all around him in worship. I love how the lyrics "king forever, ceasing never" really can pertain to him--I still see "Elvis is alive and well" references from time to time and he's been gone for decades. 

Whenever I base art off music there are usually literal comparisons and humor mixed with a play on words. The song, "Life" starts out with the lyrics "somewhere out in empty space, long before the human race, something stirred" and in this piece we have reached beyond that point of emptiness, and into the time after "powers filled the universe" and "creatures came from out of sight." The creatures here are Elvis's fans looking up (or down) on him in adoration. All except the man in the foreground who is distracted by the woman in the lower right corner (hey, we can't be liked by everyone, right?). She is oblivious to him though, and gazes up at King Elvis.

The lyrics "love produced the perfect man" represent how a human being can be elevated to a level of godlike stature based strictly on superficial stimuli; rather than the love that comes from knowing someone and nurturing an actual relationship. We have probably all placed our heroes on pedestals at some point in our lives.  

There is an outside reference to Michelangelo's fresco painting "The Creation of Adam" where the tip of a lit cigarette can be seen barely touching the tip of the Triumph's handlebar. While this has nothing to do with any of the lyrics, I thought it was a nice touch (no pun intended). 

WE THREE KINGS

written in 1857 by John Henry Hopkins

We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a king on Bethlehem's plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrow, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in a stone-cold tomb.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Earth to heav'n replies.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading,still proceeding,
Following yonder star!

LIFE

written in 1970 by Shirl Milete (sung by Elvis Presley)

Somewhere out in empty space,
long before the human race,
Something stirred,
A vast and timeless source began,
Intelligence was born and then,
there was the world,
Powers filled the universe,
matter formed and broke the curse,
Of nothingness,
Love became an ageless soul,
nature reached her highest goal,
And breathed the breath of life,
Everlasting life.

Well creatures come from out of sight,
Daylight came from in the night,
and all was good,
Life became a masterplan,
Love produced the perfect man,
that understood,
The image of the makers word,
worshipped him with all he had,
But then one day,
From in the depths an evil seed,
grew and manufactured greed,
That changed the way of life,
Everlasting life,

Oh the loving power looked and saw,
Inside the heart of man a flaw,
began to grow,
Well, the fires of hell began to burn,
and so he sent his chosen son,
To let us know,
That love had surely made us all,
and hate would surely make us fall,
So from the cross,
Well he showed the world that dreadful day,
That love could be the only way,
or all is lost of life,
Everlasting life,
For life is love,
And love is life.


Detail Images


Detail Image for art We Three Kings

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Detail Image for art We Three Kings

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Detail Image for art We Three Kings

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