VPA Spotlights
Zeke Leonard, [Reverb Community-handmade tenor guitars], 2014 Zeke Leonard, [Reverb Community-handmade tenor guitars], 2014

Artist Statement

Reverb: a collaborative re-use musical community

Music has been a part of community building for all of recorded history and as far as we are able to discern for much longer than that. Music brings us together, it knits individuals into a cohesive group. It can let us give voice to our triumphs and failures, it can let us create an identity, it can bolster us in times of despair.

For many thousands of years all of the instruments that we used to make music started as found objects. The oldest known instruments are made out of hollowed bones, but even instruments such as the lyre were originally made of tortoise shells. In my mind, music and re-use are inextricably intwined.

For the reverb community, two pianos that were slated for the landfill were disassembled and re-made into pairs of tenor guitars. To build the community, Syracuse-area artists and designers were identified, each of whom was given a pair of guitars. Each community member embellished their pair in whatever way they saw fit, and each of them will retain one of guitar out of their pair.

The five guitars shown will live together as signifiers of this community, while the sister guitars will be out in the world in separate places as connection points to the artists and designers that embellished them.

Zeke Leonard is an assistant professor of environmental and interior design in the School of Design. His reverb community was recently featured in VPA's faculty show Conceal/Reveal at SUArt Galleries.