X20 9-String Tibetan
In September, 2015 I travelled to China to get US-based customer’s dream guitar decorated. I travelled to the Tibetan region of China to have one of our guitars decorated with Eastern philosophy art for a customer in Chicago.
I called upon the assistance of an old friend living in China for the job of beautifully decorating this one-off nine-string guitar. I first met Canadian artist Kristel Tenzin Dolma Ouwehand in Donegal over two decades ago while she was travelling the world funding herself through her art.
In 1992 Kristel had left our St Johnston home leaving us with a painting which had a profound effect on me and became a symbol for my own personal journey. She came and stayed in our house for a few days and in return she painted a picture of a horse for me. It was a beautiful picture depicting the horse with a flowing mane and tail galloping in the wind and it has held pride of place ever since.”
For me, Kristel was the only person who would do this unique project justice and so, accompanied by our cameraman, Alan (McLaughlin), we set out for China. What is so exciting about this project is that it was a lot of different life experiences of mine coming together to allow this to happen. It brought a story full circle; that first connection with Kristel, all those years ago, reconnecting with her in her new home in China and creating a very special piece for one of our customers.
The Amdo Art Project, located in the monastery town of Labrang, hosts eight full-time students, young Tibetans of nomadic decent, who join the academy for a five-year term honing their skills as artists under the tutelage of Kristel.
Kristel took the brief outlined by our customer Brendan and completed a beautiful mural on the guitar, taking inspiration from various sources. Brendan had a vision for a guitar with Asian artwork depicting his favourite philosophers. We chose a Shan Shui-style with a river running through it as the central theme. The inspiration for the river design came from a 300-year-old mural inside the Labrang monastery, giving it a strong local connection.
The artwork, philosophers and styles span various different cultures reflecting the global nature of this guitar spanning three continents in its creation. Water, being the central theme, became very significant as this guitar led to us being able to help install water facilities for the academy.
I have always said we are not just a company that makes guitars, we’re a company that makes stories. We always work with our customers to make a memorable experience and create something special for them.
Brendan was looking for a special instrument that reflected his life and music. Little did he know how much impact the building of this guitar would have on so many lives.
- CLIENT Brendan (Illinois, USA)