No. 6. Case of the Purloined Cupcake

The Key of Temptation and a Cupcake Heist
The Key of Temptation and a Cupcake Heist

This tiny composite photo, measuring 2″ X 8,” will soon be installed as a mural in West Reading, PA—a mini mural that is.

Artist Michael L Miller of West Reading is organizing a project called West Reading Museum of Temporary Art and Personal Histories. He gathered the stories of 120 residents, from past to present, and matched the stories with 120 artists who will create the tiny works of art to be installed, each on the side of a brick on a building in town.

The story I was assigned involved several teenaged boys, many years ago. They were hanging out on Penn Ave. when a girl with a car picked them up. On her keychain was a key to Van’s Bakery, then closed for the day. Using the key the group pilfered some cupcakes and absconded to Wyomissing Park across the borough line, where they polished off their booty. Van’s Bakery was located where Chatty Monks, an upscale eatery & bar, is now situated.

Here is the little artist’s statement I sent with the piece. “Teenaged boys on the Avenue, a girl with a car, a key to Van’s bakery add up to a bit of after-hours mischief and light-fingered cupcakes. This little story inspired my composite photograph. In all my composites I have used my own photos – up to now. In honor of the purloined cupcakes devoured in Wyomissing Park by the adolescent confectionary bandits, I lifted the one in this composition from the Internet.”


Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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