My daughter, Mollie Pritchett, while living in Florence, Italy, decided to try rendering a manhole art. Her boyfriend, Alessandro Nepi, who lives in Florence, documented the show. As you can see in the photos below there was quite a crowd watching and asking questions. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I can’t wait to someday go to Italy to explore the streets and sidewalks to find some unique manholes.
Here is Mollie to tell the story in her own words.
“My name is Mollie and I am the daughter of Dwight Pritchett, the artist and blog author of Art by Dwight. I have had the privilege to do some traveling and ended up collecting a few manhole stories of my own.
Usually when I go through security at the airport while I am giving my parents one more goodbye hug on my way to Italy, my dad with a grin reminds me to keep my eyes open and look down. Now why would any wide-eyed, culture hungry, pixel-loving traveler to a beautiful mountainous and sunny country like Italy keep their eyes down? If you know my dad at all you won’t even blink an eye.
I grew up in a home where art was something that was as important to growing up as fresh air. My sister and I would get an assignment at school that asked to “be creative” and we would come back with a masterpiece that made the teacher smile from ear to ear. There was nothing that our parents couldn’t show us how to look at in a different, creative, and beautiful light.
When my dad started doing manhole lifts it didn’t take us much by surprise, it was typical Pritchett family, and typical dad. What we didn’t expect was how much it would grow and how much interest people would take in them, both watching him do them and seeing the final artwork.
The idea is fresh, it’s something that most people walk over every single day of their lives and maybe so did their father and grandfather and their great grandfather. It’s a graphic piece of art meant to serve a purpose right under our toes just as the beautiful aqueducts in Rome are just above our heads.
So I finally took my dad’s advice and started keeping my eyes down when in Florence Italy. I bought some art supplies at one of the many shops, chose a sunny evening, and made my way to Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge). It was one of those hot tourist filled days where strawberry gelato was dripping from everyone’s cones and little decorative fans were being sold by the street vendors.
Of course the perfect manhole was in the middle of the road over the bridge. I waited for my moment after the Chinese couple taking the romantic picture finally scattered and positioned down my canvas. The very second I started I already had a crowd around me wondering what I would do. Laying down canvas in the middle of a busy street is somewhat suspicious. After getting out my Conte crayons and beginning to lift the manhole I looked up to see the police driving by. They stopped to give me a concerned look. I thought my operation was going to be crushed right then and there, but after they understood what I was doing they smiled and said please continue. I guess they were used to the crazy American artists in Italy.
It turned out to be a great adventure. When I was done my boyfriend and I packed up and watched the sun set over the Arno River, people came up to me and asked about the artwork.
I wrapped up the lift and flew it home to my dad where he took it down to his studio and turned it into a finished piece of art. It is now the first in his “around the world” series of manhole lifts.
So when you are that wide-eyed, culture hungry, pixel-loving traveler, don’t forget to look down.”
Mollie will be contributing from time to time on this blog site so we can look foreword to her new adventures. You can see some of her photography of Italy and more at Mollie Pritchett Photography & Design and if you ever need a good lawyer, Alessandro practices both in New York and Italy at the Law Firm of Alessandro Nepi.