SATURDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2015
This television production, in need of some original works for set decoration, engaged me to produce an eclectic collection of paintings and print selections from my photographic archive. The objective was to create a series of works that appeared to be a private collection sourced from different artists, yet sharing a complimentary aesthetic. And all within four days… ah, Hollywood! Fortunately, I like a pressing deadline when creating as it drives improvisation to a fever pitch and instills a Darwinian atmosphere from material collection to brutish application. It’s how I like to temper my quest for beauty, with just a little chaos.
During the filming of the pilot, as both Brody House and Brody Studios were used as principal locations in the pilot, I met Brody House Group co-founder Peter Grundberg. Once Peter explained to me the design principals and mission statement of Brody – enabling artistic collaboration across multiple mediums and featuring a salon-like atmosphere from which to further the advancement of art and culture – I was sold!
As I had the pleasure of spending more time with him we discovered our like-minded creative sensibilities, serial entrepreneurship and philanthropic bent ran closer than expected. Witnessing the humanitarian refugee crisis unfolding only blocks away, as the local train stations flood with families escaping the horrors of war from Syria and beyond, it was only moments before we agreed to do a show of the works created here in Budapest and dedicate all art sale proceeds toward refugee aid. It was then that he told me of the parable of the ‘Stone Soup’, a Hungarian folktale about the power of collective collaboration producing something useful for the whole from individual contributions of ingredients.
I jumped at the title. It was too logical, glaringly organic and unavoidable. We felt and believed, that beyond the basic needs such as food, medicine and shelter being met, artistic expression is also a basic need and critical to healing. Our feelings were shared. Along with other local artists, we immediately delivered art supplies to one of the train stations along with food and hygiene products. And what better ingredient could a Stone Soup ask for than the Hungarian Red Cross now officially collaborating in this event and ongoing efforts.
Warmly and with gratitude, Billy Zane