Friday, July 5, 2013

Phase 8 - not all time is the same (find focus), update

I am about to become the all-chimeras-all-the-time station for the next few weeks. I admit - I'm nervous. I have an amazing opportunity to create a site specific installation for Gallery 105 in North Adams, MA. For years, I have dreamed of turning a whole gallery into a setting from a magical land (it's 'the forest of and, and, and' :)). Now that I have a chance to do it - I'm so excited, but also anxious about making the reality match my idea in a not-so-long time.

In  terms of phase 8, not all time is the same (find focus) I've been thinking that in order to make the time getting ready for the show as productive as possible, I'm going to try to establish a routine to minimize my non-art-thinking for a while. Hopefully, this will help me stay calm and focused and make lots and lots of chimeras. (Examples of automating non-crucial decisions - getting up at the same time, wearing (clean versions) of the same thing, choosing one from two or three set options for each meal.)

6 variants - with different wing and beak positions
My goal is to make 1 element every 2 to 3 days. I'm liking this week's flock of blue parakeets. Parrots are on the "animals I like" list - they are colorful and nice to look at, and beyond that, because they mimic human speech, but in a way that's driven by bird thoughts, I think they are especially interesting in thinking about copying and the soul. Putting together a parrot montage 2 weeks ago after proofing the parrot etching, and then seeing the plaster of a parrot at the Money Museum in Colorado last week has also kept them on my mind. I think the blue comes from a conflation of 'parrot' and 'bluebird of happiness'. Even though it's 29 pieces, they form a single compositional element.

The process for making these is becoming a dialogue between me and my computer in a way I really like:

 I started with a physical copy (an image made using a rubber stamp), which I scanned, manipulated, printed, drew on and manually manipulated. Then I re-scanned and used software to create variants by using both digital tools and computerized drawing. To get the birds, I re-printed, drew more. For the Chimera versions, I then drew by hand a unique "original" from the digital print using a manual copying technique (light box) and attached the head (which is a drawing based on a self-photo). I then scanned this unique chimera, and digitally drew on it to create a variant, and re-re-printed.

Once I had all the pieces, I turned them into a flock. Because I can't actually see the flock (my vision jumps from detail to detail), I used digital tools again to arrange them by laying them out on the floor, photographing from up a flight of stairs, then tweaking the positions based on the pictures on the small screen (composing them like digital-minis :)). The pieces are attached to sheets of white poster board attached to one another with fabric tape on the back so that the sheets fold up like a book (an extension of an idea from the most recent, three-part folding collage of three weeks ago that came from looking at multi-panel altarpieces). When I get to the gallery, I'll unfold and affix the whole thing the wall.

It's growing sort of like a fractal - a piece within a piece within a piece within a piece.... the head is a drawing, attached to the body, attached to the sheet, attached to the book, attached to the wall, attached to the room. (Naming the place 'the forest of and, and, and' makes sense, no? ;))

One element every 2 to 3 days - Should I be worried?