Artwork Title: A Player-Piano - Artist Name: Gayleen Aiken

A Player-Piano

Gayleen Aiken, 1993

An interior view. A woman with gray curly hair is seated before a player piano, staring away from the viewer and into the far corner of the room. The piano is black with a red runner or dresser scarf across its top. The walls of the room are covered with wallpaper printed with blue and orange flowers, which seem to crowd together more densely toward the rear corner. A lower margin includes several inscriptions. The drawing was received unframed and remains so. Label: Gayleen Aiken created a world combining fantasy, memory, reality, and music through visual narratives liberally sprinkled with texts. She lived in Barre, Vermont, her entire life and began creating artworks at the age of two, sketching on the woodwork of her parents' home. As an adult, she was a leading member of Grassroots Art and Community Effort (GRACE), a not-for-profit workshop program in Vermont that supports artists, many working in community centers, nursing homes, and psychiatric facilities throughout the state. Aiken's drawings frequently feature her 24 smiling imaginary cousins, the Raimbillis, a granite factory located just outside Barre, and a nickelodeon that she kept in her home. Her imagined world is typically sunny and filled with pleasant dreams, fireworks, and music, although here, her player-piano stands curiously silent, adrift in a sea of patterned wallpaper, while the artist herself shows us only the back of her head. Inscription(s): Note: Distinctions between capitol and lower case letters are not always clear in the original. In part-block, part-script letters in red crayon in the lower margin reserve is "A Player-Piano." In ink over pencil in small part-block, part-script letters in the far left corner of the lower margin reserve is "Nickelodeon/Music Box./old House/Gayleen Aiken./Artist, I play Music,/wrote comic-books./I like Granite-Shed-plants,/Big country tall houses./Nickelodeon-Music./I've been in Movie-Film./We camp around/Helping Relatives/with Properties,/We miss everything/about our old rooms./We might move back/to one of our old big/Heirloom country/Houses sometime." At far right, just above the lower margin reserve, in ink in script is "Gayleen Aiken". In ink in script on the reverse of the primary support is "1993/Dear Art buyer./Write to me in care of this Art show, Don Sunseri of this art show you bought it at./tell me alittle about yourself and family. what style of house you live in? a large one? Ever lived in a big tall old House? apt. in one?/farm? Have you lived in villages? country? city. edge of country? farms? what are your hobbies? sports? music?/Did you ever have a player piano? old organ? Modern Electronic organ? guitar? Did you ever live in a tall city apt. building?/Where have you heard & seen an old Nickelodeon? A Nickelodeon is a big music Box piano THING./Please do not store art too near hot heat, or out in bright sun shne. (as HEAT is bad for the colors.) May fade dim." []
autodidactfemale artistpianoself portraitself taughtwallpaperpencilwax crayonsand ink on heavy wove paper

Welcome To


Arthur is a Digital Museum

We haven't opened yet, but somehow you found us. Join the list for early access.