Urn 4 PrinceTen-year-old me found an ad for a concert in a newspaper and flipped out.  Yes, in 1983 ads for concerts were in newspapers.  Knowing what I know now, I realize what a small act Prince was at the time because it was roughly a 6” x 6” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The first cassette tape I owned was Thriller.  The second was Purple Rain.  Michael was great, but Prince?  Prince was the real deal.

I didn’t understand the adult content of the album at the time - which wasn’t necessary to realize the potency of the work.

The absolute preposterousness of frantically begging my mother to let me go to this concert, despite the fact that Prince himself was featured naked in a bathtub as the main imagery, was almost entirely lost on tween me.  I say almost because I recall urging that he probably had a bathing suit on for the photo shoot.  I sealed my fate by saying that even if he was naked in concert, it wouldn’t matter because I like girls.  Pretty sure there was chortling and sidelong glances of pity from aunts and uncles as this took place at my grandparents’ house during dinner cleanup.

I’ve rued my mother’s decision to not allow me to attend Prince’s bathing themed concert my entire life.  She does too. We could have gone together and witnessed the royal purple magnificence in its early prime.

My love affair with Prince’s music has staying power despite my delving into a wide variety of genres.  Even when I was Hard Rock Chris with amazing flowing hair to the middle of my back, I could still be caught in my car belting out “Kiss” with Prince and his Revolution.

Some of the R&B and/or gospel heavy stuff in his mid career didn’t do as much for me, but I always enjoyed his efforts and recognized his musical genius along with his dancing.  That little guy could move.

Grown up me eventually managed to get himself to a Prince concert with pretty decent seats.  His prolific work ethic, multi-instrument mastery, sense of humor, and penchant for eroticism blended with his spirituality continue to be sources of amazement and inspiration. 

His untimely demise is something I am still trying to figure out how to live with.

This preface was to emphasize that the following case study and product concept of an Urn 4 Prince was done with absolute respect for his majesty and his family…

Concept Inputs

During Prince’s contractual wranglings with Warner Brothers, he became The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and produced a glyph known as The Love Symbol.

This clever combination of a treble clef, a cross, and a marriage of the symbols for male and female - a trinity, if you will - is impractical as a vessel when made three dimensional.  The scale would have to become massive in order to create a negative space large enough to house the cremated remains.  Even then, the thought of trying to fill the thin spaces conjures monks painting with colored sand (and a lawsuit).

love symbol as a box

There is additional temptation to simply turn a raspberry beret, a red corvette, starfish and coffee, or other into a three dimensional object with a hollow for storing cremated remains.  While all of these could be designed and executed more readily than The Love Symbol, we felt the legacy of such an artistic giant deserves more effort, thought, and Heartfelt Design.

In answer to this, I combined the elements of said trinity within The Love Symbol with a luxuriant, sensual, and amorphous shape.  The color purple has to be included, but not in a fashion that is overwhelming - rather as an accent supported by the majority of the elements.  The translucent purple flower/flame/spirit at the center gathering light becomes more intense in sunlight but also emanates a soft purple glow in the dark as a result of embedded phosphorescent powders The impression is intense, larger than life, and both out of time while representative of Prince’s body of work.

The concept image of my design and project proposal is featured below:

4 Prince

The vessel is cast in metal, custom painted in semi-pearlescent gloss white with a very slight fade to purple at the base and features  a large, cast resin, light catching purple gem surrounded by a crown of three arms of Prince’s Trinity.

Memento Memorials is offering production of this design in two modes: a production piece and a break-the-mold option where the buyer would own the last and, potentially, only one ever made.

The industrialization and commoditization of craftsmanship leaves our society with the impression that there are no longer people who design and build objects worthy of royal remembrance.   Memento Memorials is one such entity and we stand ready a with an option we feel is appropriate for Prince Rogers Nelson’s family or a fan's.