Sanford, Fla. is home to some of the most beautiful sights. There’s Lake Monroe which stretches all the way from I-4 to East Street and ends somewhere out of reach.
Here you can find intellectuals, drunks, bums, rich yuppies, wealthy businessmen, pilfers, artists, and raving bartenders who somehow trick you into enjoying the ride, when your instincts initially screamed for you to “Run Away!”
This lush environment is where the Sanford Art Walk takes place each year.
The kooky bar called Little Fish Big Pond is where Mo Williams is the sole proprietor and director of artist Maus Corderman’s temporary gallery showing, “Everyday Is Exactly the Same.”
Different websites (Sickboy’s bar in Daytona, ArtistsAlive365.blogspot.com) list his work as genre-bending, grunge, contemporary, or punk art, but he says he can’t really classify it as such.
He described for me the tattoo on his arm which symbolizes his Jewish heritage through the numbers prisoners wore in concentration camps during the German occupation.
“It’s supposed to be somewhat offensive because it is something that shouldn’t be forgotten,” Corderman says.
The story lends verbal cues not unlike the visuals that can be seen in the smog-choked city that burns in the background of one of his pieces, entitled “Toxic Garbage Island.”
“When it’s in someone’s face, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s fucked up,’ but it’s essentially the point,” he says.
Though his shirt exclaims, “Hail Sagan!” in reference to astronomical physicist Carl Sagan, he says he won’t chain himself into believing in one religion or another.
Corderman represents all things controversial, pure, shocking, true, and false, too. He invites you to lose yourself in the puzzle of life, that he exhibits through his personality and his art.
His work takes on that eclectic mix of emotions that make you scoff while relishing in the audacity that blood and bare breasts evince when seen out in public.
The question is, do you look away in disgust or decide to get closer?
“I have this triptych at home that I thought about bringing,” Corderman says, “but I wasn’t sure it’d be quite appropriate in this setting.”
What makes a person decide whether one piece of his private mind is ready for public viewing and leaves others in a dark room back at the homestead?
He says, “All together the piece is HUGE. And no offense to Mo, but I’m not sure if all three of the canvases can fit in such a crammed space.”
Each of the works here tonight are vying for space in competition with the rest of the other knickknacks, paintings, and chairs that Mo’s collected in the five years Little Fish has been in service.
Not to the mention the old piano that serves as more of an armoire for the armament of decapitated dolls and little pony statuettes that rest atop its wooden frame.
But where did he learn to render his work so that it could be displayed here, tonight? The answer is Full Sail University, but there’s a clause.
“Full Sail is a pretty campus hiding a terrible education,” he says.
Corderman says he learned a little about a lot during his time at Full Sail, but he had to delve deeper into the lessons, that his professors merely touched upon, in order to grasp entire concepts such as the math that goes into his artwork.
“If you are a digital artist and don’t understand math, then you’re going to fail,” says Corderman.
His influences don’t just stem from triangulations encoded in the software he uses, however.
So I listen to his music to try to get inside his head. What are his influences? Nine Inch Nails, obviously. Gojira, check. He and I can relate to Black Dahlia Murder, check.
I’ve listened to these bands before in some of my more sordid of moods, but I hadn’t really sunk into the world of The Kills or Deadweather, as these are a mere few of an extensive list of musical muses of his.
Corderman also has his own band, “Preacher,” which is in between members.
And I wonder where these mental images come from, those ideas that just stick like flies to wax paper in your head, and roost there until you write them out. Play them out. Or in his case, let them loose upon the world in vectors, first drawn by hand then digitally crystallized with AdobePhotoshop and Illustrator.
Sitting at the bar with her date are two alumni from the University of Central Florida, Caitlin Ferrell and Kevin Harrell.
Both are graduates from the Accounting program at UCF.
Ferrel says the artwork is “Dali-themed” and her date, elaborates.
“There’s lots of drooping going on,” he says as he points to “This is a Trick.”
“And the perspective is kinda skewed,” says Harrel.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m betting this is the way Corderman himself looks at the world while he’s not expressing himself through one form of art or another.
“We live in a very creative environment, here,” says wife Shelly, encapsulating with a wave the length of the front porch of their home, where the night finally comes to a close.
He and his wife have been together for almost two years and she, too, dabbles in the most imaginative of faculties.
Her custom made corsets hang pinned up and around Corderman’s work on the wall of the bar where she belly dances, in full Arabian garb, for the crowd.
Corderman, his wife, and their mutual best friend, cohort, and fellow writer Niki Alexander live together in the heart of Sanford right down the road from the gallery.
(Edited version published in Central Florida Future.)