Tuesday, July 10, 2012

rusty metal versus paint

My folks live down on the island of Matlacha, Florida. I don't have time here and now to give full details concerning how cool it is in and around Matlacha, but just know that it is a great place (especially for my parents to retire). After you cross the drawbridge entering the island you will find the Olde Fish House Marina on your right. This establishment has an enormous metal fish out front that they used as both a sign and also a daily display board of fresh catches and specials. It had been exposed to the elements for years and the metal was orange with rust. In my mind it had achieved a state of perfection (except that it wasn't in my home). The form of the fish was great and mixing that with large metal rings around the eyes, the rivets and the awesome rust, it brought a tear to your eye. This photo was then!...

Since our last jaunt south the sign has undergone a makeover. As stated above, I was fond of the white chalk on rust version. Very fond. The new look has some great aspects to it but it ceases to be...rugged, rough-around-the-edges, disheveled or just plain simple. Before I state that I like the former version better than the new one, let me point out some positives seen in the image below. First: the paint is profoundly more noticeable from the road (of major importance since it is a sign and all!). Second: the colors fit the area well. Matlacha is a hodge-podge of people (some sober, some not), houses (trailers on their last leg up to million dollar dwellings), and colors (a coral colored home could be right beside a purple one with pink shutters). You mix all these things with the amazing natural surroundings of South West Florida's Gulf Coast and I guess the sign is a snug fit. Third: the design used in the application of the colors is freewheelin' and organic. It is a whimsical mix of circles and waves. There is little fault to be found in the entire redesign.

The aesthetic argument that is clamoring in my head can be summarized by the title I selected....rusty metal versus paint. As a business owner, I would welcome the changes made. As a lover of art and creative endeavors, I mourn the loss of that rust. I mourn the loss of a simple and interesting silhouette of a fish. I mourn the loss of these two elements coming together.

I had an art teacher, back in my undergrad years, who spoke over my shoulder as I was grinding away on some project, "It is just as important to know when to stop as it is to know when to keep going." This teacher said many things that still bounce around in my head as I currently work. This "knowing when to stop" idea has impacted me profoundly. I have ruined many drawings, paintings and sculptures by thinking that adding a tiny bit more might help. The line is a fine one.

My vote is for the rusty metal. Eventhough I'm not thinking about the success or failure of the business. I'm just ranting on a beautiful object that I drove past. 

If you ever make it to Matlacha, stop in and have a meal...nice people bring you good stuff in a great setting. Look for the beautifully painted fish out front!


  1. The color makes me happy and hopefully it makes MANY others feel the same way...then you don't have to feel so sad the rust is gone! Love your site!

    1. thanks....the love of rust gets stronger as I get more and more rusty!