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Makes Me Wonder
About This Artwork
Using the song Stairway to Heaven as both a metaphor and vehicle for inspiration, I wanted to draw a parallel through this artwork between the emotional side of art of inestimable value, and the mercantile value of the painting as an object; of the ambivalence between creating freely and living by his passion (art) without being suffocated by the shackles of materialism, and the constant and pressing need to make a living as an artist.
Song of Led Zeppelin with controversial origins, Stairway to Heaven is often referred as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The sound of Stairway to Heaven translates as a spiritual quest, both mystical and mysterious, that conflicts with the attributed meaning of words, that of a woman who finds happiness by material goods, thus attempting to buy his place in Paradise.
The soothing, almost spiritual aspect of the artwork ‘Makes Me Wonder’ (a frequently repeated expression in the verses), in shades of gold, silver and bronze on a white background, and its composition established as a staircase (also bearing some resemblance to a growth curve of a stock market index) illustrates the ambivalence between spirituality and wealth.
Written over a long period of time, its composition would have started in 1970 in Bron-Yr-Aur in Wales, where Jimmy Page would have assembled the first part of this song from sound samples from a cassette tape recorder which he always dragged with him. Robert Plant was later reported to have suddenly slew the first words on paper by automatic writing while Page played the chords: "There's a lady is sure, all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven”, justifying the meaning of this couplet as "something cynical about a woman who had all she wanted all the time without thinking. The first line starts with this cynical sweep of the hand... and it calmed down after that. "
However, these lyrics accurately reflect his readings of the moment, the books of a British antiquarian by the name of Lewis Spence... To the point that he eventually resolved to credit a book by the author, Magic Arts in Celtic Britain, as one of the sources of the song. But the real controversy stems from a blatant resemblance to Taurus, an instrumental composition written two years earlier by Randy California of the band Spirit... an embarrassing resemblance, to the point that Spirit's bassist, Mark Andes, will have finally formulated forty-five years later late a copyright complaint against Led Zeppelin, who played with Spirit in the first part of the North American Tour of 1968-1969...