Carpe Diem Banjo
This quite elaborate banjo was made out of figured mapple for the neck with a 12in modern rim veneered with rosewood. Just a simple brass rod as a tone ring. Nylon strings, Renaissance head. A bone tailpiece sculpted as a flower (a tulip, which is what you can see in my garden these days of march)
I made it for a lawyer from New York city who agreed on my proposal of decoration on the theme of "The Vanity" : This is a type of painting (but not only, it also could be sculpture etc) who says that : whatever our Wealth, our Power, our Knowledge, we will all die and return into dust. Here this is mainly said by the inlay at the bottom of the neck ( a drawing made from a beautiful old anonymous ivory carving). That's what "Memento Mori" reminds us too (but cut out of black pearl, almost invisible here, like a little voice from a dark part of our mind...). "Carpe Diem" is much more visible on the head and shout to us to Enjoy Life ! while we can.
On the back of the head you can see "VA - NI - TAS" written on 3 open books flying in the space. This was the idea I had to recall the Motto on the blazon of a famous high school this lawyer-customer comes from... The bones in the space, on the heel and the back of the rim, may remind you of a famous film by S Kubrick (2001, a Space Odyssey).
For this banjo, 3 different use of letters, I thought would be adequat for a lawyer who uses mainly words in its job...
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