Visual Arts

Melissa Martinez's Why Should I Be So Sad? at Scottsdale Belle Tower

"That's what this piece is about," says Tempe artist Melissa Martinez. "I went from having one of the worst times of my life to having one of the best."

The Tempe-based artist just finished installing her latest public work titled, Why Should I Be So Sad? at the Scottsdale Belle Art Tower, a main entrance into the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. The piece, she says, was originally inspired by an emotionally draining time about a year ago, when three of her family members faced serious health issues. 

She had been thinking about creating the work when she was commissioned to complete a Scottsdale Public Art project about six months ago. Another commission followed shortly. And then she got pregnant.

"I just remember feeling like that saying 'when it rains, it pours,'" says Martinez. "It was then that I started thinking about how all these emotional experiences shape your life and the person you are." 

Martinez's Why Should I Be So Sad? is a sculptural storm cloud with dangling glass raindrops and light shinning from the center. 

Created with coroplast (or sheet plastic) and acrylic Christmas ornaments, the piece showers viewers with the light reflected through the surface of the raindrops, which is often best viewed at night. 

"The idea is that even with all these negative things, there is always a positive side," says Martinez.

The Scottsdale Public Art Program commissioned the piece, with support from Clarence and Lona Furuya. It is part of a series of rotating installations at the Belle tower meant to enhance the entrance to the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. 

Martinez says she also hopes the piece's aesthetic will bring a positive reaction from visitors.

"If nothing else, I just want people to think it's pretty," she says.

Why Should I Be So Sad? will be on display at Scottsdale Belle Art Tower at the Scottsdale Mall until January 21, 2012. For more information on Melissa Martin visit her website.

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