Creating Beauty From Devastation!
Originally from the United Kingdom, Glen Farrelly and his family had relocated to the United States and settled in their in Sand Canyon. Shortly after their move in date, the Farrelly’s were forced to evacuate their new home as the Santa Clarita Valley underwent a record-breaking natural disaster. In the summer of 2016, the Sand Fire burned over 40,000 acres, destroyed at least 18 homes and claimed one casualty, making this one of the most devastating occurrences in Santa Clarita’s history. Over the 12 days the fire burned, almost 3,000 firefighters battled the blaze until it was finally contained. With no deep connections other than his wife’s job, he and his young family took refuge in the home of a new local friend. “We had nowhere to go and never thought it would reach us; and when the police came around and said, ‘you have to go’, it had a very profound effect on me,” Glen stated. Once the fire was contained, Sand Canyon residents tried to return to their lives. However, for some, the fire had taken everything or did a considerable amount of damage, leaving those who were greatly affected having to start again.
In the wake of tragedy, people band together to begin the healing process, usually ignited by a single cause. Having the insight of an artist, Glen began to see beauty in the aftermath. “When I walked into the burn sites I began to see these organic shapes that inspired me to do something with them,” Glen shared. When Glen was in London, he worked as the head of the art department at the City of London School where he taught several students including well-known celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe. “When I left, the idea was I get to do my art again; as an art teacher you don’t always get to do your own work, you are more commonly sharing your ideas!” he stated.
When a field burns, the affected area is given a boost of necessary nutrients for life to return. “The Santa Clarita area has been really lucky over the past three years with the rolling green fields that have come in the aftermath and much of the wildlife has come back as well,” said Glen. He incorporates this concept in his new artwork that shows life has the potential to return. “Some of them [the wood pieces] spoke for themselves, I could look at them and see where they were going, “Glen commented. “With a lot of them I added hearts or seeds to emphasize that a heart still beats and new life is soon to come, “he continued. Recently, Glen has shown his work in two LA Exhibitions, ‘Earth Recycled 2,’ and was invited to show his work at the opening of the Embed Gallery. “Each burnt or scorched piece of wood from the fire has a history and a story to tell, and I want to help that story to be heard”.
You can see more of Glen’s work and follow his exhibitions on his website, www.glenfarrellyartist.com or his Instagram, @farrellyglenartist
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