Sunday, September 23, 2012

Phase 2 - patience, patience, patience

Lots of opportunities this week to practice time/space management!  Things are a little overwhelming (in a good way) right now, so I'm trying to break things down into small steps and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize; but no matter how overwhelming things seem - there's always time for art-making, right?  Working on being patient and reflective I reworked some elements of last week's piece. After looking at the photographs, I wasn't happy that the stems of the poppies didn't show up, so I added a layer of pen over the original pencil, and also added another layer of yellow acrylic to the background. I put a neon yellow line around the figure in highlighter to suggest motion (the boundary between the neon yellow and blue seems to vibrates slightly) and sewed down the bird and folded its wing to be an element of "pop-up" just like the flower petals.

But, always keeping in mind principle #1, (and because I can't help myself), I started a new piece this week too.

In other news - I have a new gig as an arts writer for! I'm working on my first stories right now and am very excited about going on art adventures and writing about them each week for this, the arts portion of the Millbrook Independent. (two thumbs up! I just keep reminding myself: "there are no emoticons, extensive bracketing, or excessive exclamation points in newspaper reporting - just stick to the facts mam," haha.  But seriously, I'm very excited and will give it my best, wish me luck!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Phase 2d - lay the foundation for giving

close up of a brand new piece!
This past week I saw an exhibition that was right up my alley in terms of my interest in natural vs. mechanical copying - Ghost in the Machine at the New Museum. Not surprisingly, I loved the exhibition.  There were so many moving parts! It was fun and, to me, felt less like a visit to a gallery and more like a field trip to a science museum.  Because many of the pieces move or react to the motion of the viewer, the works are less of a spectacle (something to be looked at) and more objects (things to potentially be interacted with).  Being a sometimes sculptor, I like objects :)

Which leads me to my next thought (getting to the point slowly this week...) I visited Etsy's office in Hudson this past week. It was an open but non-sterile space, and the staff were really gracious with their time in terms of explaining how it works (and patient, because, being visual and curious, I asked lots of questions and needed lots of demonstrations). I've been thinking about whether/what/how to sell my work, and the tiny prints in particular seem like they might be happy on Etsy, hmmm. Still thinking about it - but I'm liking the idea - who wouldn't love receiving a tiny print in the mail? I could package them so that each one would be like receiving a whimsical mini-present! (In keeping with liking things over spectacles, I like giving presents).

Thinking about gifts, I was talking to Mary Anne about donating artwork to charities and benefits, and she has an interesting philosophy: (as long as it's for a good cause) the answer is 'yes.' I got to thinking about this, and if I were to edition the tiny prints, I could set aside 10%-15% of each edition for gifts and donations so that my answer could also be 'yes.' I really like this idea. While I'm working on phase 2 (be prepared for good things), I thought it would be good to include managing time/space in artmaking to be prepared to give to others.

In other news - I'm late in posting because I got distracted by art-making (haha - imagine that!)  In terms of building on past work (phase 2b) I made this yesterday (it's 18 x 24, and I made the entire thing in one, very intense day!)  It builds on themes and materials from "Neon" and mini 27 with the embroidery in the flowers from the houses piece two weeks ago.

Overall - things are looking up here in tinyland.

Monday, September 17, 2012

double the minis is double the fun

A busy week here in tinyland! I think I'm starting to get the hang of carving the fine details in these mini prints, and I'm especially happy with the way the mouse turned out. I also like how the change in scale from cat to mouse starts to suggest perspective and the way the dynamics reverse from dark subject on a light background to light subject on a dark background. (Overall, I give it a thumbs up :) ).

More to follow, but for now, a preview:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Principle 2c - build to last

Trying to follow principle #1 and working out of my studio-in-a-box, I made another tiny print this week. The piece isn't bad - I'm starting to get the hang of carving value on this scale, but, somehow, it seems insufficient this time. Maybe because I got in a good working rhythm during the residency at CAC only to have my studio practice fall out from under me (I feel a little like Wiley Coyote in that respect); but in terms of #2b, I'm going to think of this as an "opportunity for reflection."  I realized, that while I can be very efficient with my time, I'm most productive when I can work sequentially rather than through multitasking, which relates to this week's principle to work on keeping track of the sequence and ordering it carefully for long term results.  So, while I didn't make as much artwork as I'd like this past week, I've done a few things to build a strong foundation for life-long artistic time/space management:

1) Entered all my sculptural work into the form I built to feed in to a backed up database (it works - two thumbs up!), and started the corresponding photo database.
2) Learned that 'quick books' is magical but elusive. I'm not great with written instructions, and I like being able so ask questions, so I found a day-long, introductory workshop at the local community college which might be a good option. Seeing how much I don't know has been overwhelming, but it's helped me identify some longer term goals (such as applying for a grant for studio office equipment and some business courses.)   
3) Going on an informational visit to Etsy's office next week (!?!)
 Who wouldn't be happy waking up to this?
"To liberate ourselves, let's liberate the flower."
- Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting
4) Got an additional job!  I'm very enthusiastic - I  knew it was absolutely the job for me when I walked in and there were beautifully sculpted animals, figures and anatomical models and (here's the clincher -) stray paint. That's right - I may get to use spray paint for work (dreams really do come true ;).
5) I've taken some big steps toward finding a long-term home.  I knew six months ago when I decided to work larger and get back in to making more sculpture that I'd need to make some drastic (but not irrational) changes, but after researching, thinking, and planning for months, things are finally becoming more concrete (and I really like concrete).
6) Put the CAC paintings on my artist site.

O, and I had a lot of fun - I wasn't familiar with the "all you can pick" concept for flowers until now, but I like it! I made it my personal mission to have every flower be a different color and the vase was made by my friend Mary Anne.
I live here now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Phase 2b - take time for meaingful rest and reflection, update

 For me, the hardest part of Tempus Fugit hasn't been coming up with time/space principles, it's putting them in to practice (isn't that always the way?) - so, in spirit of principle 2b, I took Sunday and Monday off to visit family and relax (but I still made some art.)

I made this tiny print early in the week.  I'm liking this new process of tiny block printing so much that my initial instinct was to cut more blocks (I like multiplicity, the materials cost less than $1, and the finished product is easy to store, so it was hard to resist), but keeping 2b in mind while still holding on to 1, I decided to make more work, but in a way that used and reflected on what I'd already made.  Result:
 I had plenty of time to reflect as I tried to teach myself embroidery.  The theme is in keeping with my focus on mechanical vs human copying - the map is product of mechanical reproduction (it's a map of LA from AAA), the houses are hand pressed relief prints, a fusion of human and mechanical copying, and the poppies are handmade using embroidery, which I thought was fitting because it's based on a repetitious motion which still leads to an individualized result.  As for the content - poppies are the state flower of California (a real place), but "fields and fields of poppies" also feature in the Wizard of Oz, (an imaginary place). I find the distinction between 'real' and 'imaginary' spaces to be fuzzy, since all maps show imaginary places in a sense. I love maps - they turn a place into a picture, so, of course, I'm a fan, but I don't actually trust them because they fix a place in time, which makes them destined to be inaccurate.  My grandfather loved maps and knew a lot about them.  As a little kid I would sit with him with a book of maps and ask him to show me all the "fake places"  There are lots - places that were never real, (clouds on the horizon), places that were real, but not really land (icebergs), places that were real, but not really where they are on a particular map (numerous islands), places that were real, but couldn't be located (Antarctica appeared on maps, then disappeared, then reappeared), places that were real, but now are gone (Krakatoa).  One thing I think I absorbed from this is that no matter how beautiful or official looking the map, it might still be wrong, and repetition of a place on multiple maps is no guarantee of accuracy (which is a worrying concept in reference to wikipedia). So while I like maps as pictures, I don't really believe in them. 

In other news - I saw a moose! Exciting, yes, but how does it relate to art? I use a lot of animals in my work, and while I work from lots of different sources (anatomical charts, photos, skeletons) I always try to circle back around to working from life. Lately, I've been thinking how research also falls under  the "preparation," heading, and it's about time for me to study some animals. My new location has proven very accommodating: I've seen deer (lots),  bunnies (lots and lots), chipmunks, squirrels, birds, frogs, salamanders, and many types of birds on my walks.  Fortuitously, this week was also the county fair, and both animals and carnival are on my "things I like" list.

In keeping with the animal theme, I also had a very timely visit to an exhibition "Rewilderment" at TSL gallery in Hudson, NY featuring artists Sarah Falkner and Ryder Cooley. To me, the show highlighted the use of animal remains as products, which the artists tried to reinvest with spirit through art; so that by becoming art-objects, the remains gained acknowledgement as once-living beings. I'm going to have to keep thinking about that one, but I thought the show was moving and aesthetically interesting, and if art that leads to thinking is good, beautiful art that leads to thinking must be even better :).