5.29.2008

Ancient Owl

While looking through one of my printmaking books, I came across this picture of an ancient Greek coin with the image of an owl. I was so smitten with its simplicity, that I had to do my own drawing (see the image on far right). It reminded me of the piles of ancient coins I helped catalog at the Detroit Institute of Arts when I worked in the curatorial department. It was so amazing to be in contact with a tiny piece of metal that may have been in the palms of a person who had walked through the Acropolis when it was built or lived through the Trojan war. 

The detail in this owl is incredible. I love the multitude of raised dots that give it a decorative texture and those big, round all-knowing eyes.  They remind me of my cat Saskia's gaze -- large, innocent, and contented.  More than likely this coin has a symbolic connection to the goddess Athena since the owl was her sacred totem.  My design has been simplified to emphasize a modern edge and create more impact in both small and large sizes.

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