Sunday, January 30, 2011

100th post!

Cheers to my 100th post!

Here's the final product of the graffiti stencil project.

Unplugged, 40" by 30", spray-paint on foam core, 2011

When thinking about a subject for the assignment that was to be a social or political statement, the thing that sprung to my mind was how most of us spend our days plugged into our ipods, cell phones, and heavily reliant on computers. I feel that this leads to a “disconnect” with our physical reality. I wanted to make an image that would cause a viewer to think about their place in the natural world: to stop and smell the roses. The image I ended up using for the piece is from a postcard that I had purchased during a trip to Paris and felt that it captured that comical or playful sense of the joie de vivre so prevalent in Parisian society. The “artificial” stimulus we receive from our personal devices cannot compare to the visceral stimulus of our physical reality. I modeled the execution of the piece after the work of Banksy. I recently watched Exit Through the Gift Shop (A Banksy Film, 2010) and found his work to be very clever and graphically strong: perfect for stopping the casually observer in their tracks. I also noted how Shepard Fairey enlarged his images on the computer and tiled them using multiple sheets. I made an initial drawing in pencil in my sketchbook using the postcard as reference. I then scanned the drawing and traced it using Adobe Illustrator. I then simplified the lines, determined the positive and negative forms, and then enlarged the image. I printed out the image and tiled it so it could be full-size. I then pasted the printouts onto the manila folders and cut out the negative parts. I had to make some adjustments so that I wouldn’t lose some of the positive forms that were surrounded by the negative. I wanted to use a background of newspaper cut-outs but found the spray-paint bled on the newspaper so, I used the back of the boards and preferred the crisp edges left by the spray-painting the stencil directly on the poster-board surface. I used three colours and started with yellow. This is a technique that I learned in graphic design and 4 colour printing: it’s easier to overprint the darker colours over the light if there is any adjustments needed mid-printing. One of the pitfalls (or benefits) of using multiple colours is that there is bound to be a bit of off-registration of the colours: you can see the black is off to the right but I think it adds to the playfulness of the piece. I found that my graphic design background was handy in completing this project, especially when reducing the drawing to positive and negative shapes. The biggest difficulty I had with the project was using spray-paint outdoors and not losing my stencil in the gusty wind: those aerosols are nasty when used indoors! 

Some process photos woo!:
Tiled print-out

Cut-out stencil

1st pass: yellow

2nd pass: blue

How the stencil looked on the poster board (this is actually the failed newspaper side but you get the idea).

Phewf! It's windy and cold out!

Ike loves being a part of these things :)

Artist Statement In Progress

My paintings reflect an interest in creating new forms out of the juxtaposition of linear contours of the figure. Over the past year, I have been intrigued by the effects of repetition of form and the use of line in painting. My studies in contemporary art have pushed me to search beyond naturalism to find a means of communicating. The paintings are transitioning from painting that look like things to paintings that are expressions.
I have been drawn to painting the figure for many years now because the forms of the figure yield many moods and emotions without the need for narrative. I am seeking new ways to express and perceive the human body. But even though the figure is distorted and abstracted, I like to leave hints and clues of the subject matter: just enough so the viewer can piece it together on their own. This method enables the viewer to engage with the painting and helps it retain an energy and vitality that my naturalist works lack.
The paintings are characterized by an emphasis on contour lines and the use of repetition and juxtaposition of figures. There is a sense of ambiguity in the figure-ground relationship and with the interaction of the figures with each other on the canvas.
I like to use oil paint because it is versatile: it makes lovely washes and can be used thickly for sculptural effects.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Molten Core

Molten Core, 24" by 48", Oil on canvas, 2011

"A spark a fire a winter
the heat of every edge and round curve
in toes and lips in eyes and tips
That press my every ridge
The light in your eyes
that smooth glow on your skin
that pulls on the sinewy edges of my heart
the knotted tangles of the corona
around my soul.
that those eyes, your eyes pull in
your hands on my skin, pulse
in that heat, pull my soul
pull me close and I am tangled with you.
limbs and lips and hearts and foreheads nuzzle
in thick delirious tangle
of you
and me."
- Countess Von Heidleberger

Monday, January 24, 2011

William Kentridge

Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old (1991), William Kentridge

It's amazing what he does with one sheet of paper. I love the ghosting/memory of the previous drawings on the page. It gives me ideas for my "Echoes . . ." paintings. Wouldn't it be fun to make one using splashy, fun oil colours?!?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Body: drawing that evokes a response

Terribly Wrong, Tracey Emin, monoprint
I was struck by the blankness of the page. I then felt dread and terror upon seeing the content of the piece; a visceral response. A woman is on the floor on her back with what looks to me to be a discharge from her vagina (possibly miscarriage) between her legs as though it just came out of her. The words “SOMETHINGS WRONG” is written just above the figure with “Terribly wrong” written in cursive but in reverse. I’m suddenly pulled into the psychological state of the figure in the scene: panic, fear, and paralysis. The line quality is scratchy and uneven (monoprint technique?) and lends itself to conveying those feelings. The reversed writing makes me think of dyslexia or fried thought patterns brought on by the shock/horror of the event. I find it interesting that a handful of scratches on paper can affect me in such a physical way.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stencil assignment

Kara Walker

Ryan McGinness
Intro to contemporary drawing is pretty awesome. My first "real" assignment for the class is to make a graffiti stencil: one or more colour, spray paint on poster board. The subject is a social/political statement that I feel passionate about. I'm to avoid using iconic or cliched imagery or text. The audience is the class  and the location is the hallway in the Visual arts building so the message can be a little more esoteric than what I'm used to doing for my projects at work. One idea is to play with the notion of unplugging: ipods, cell phones, iphones, computers, person electronic devices . . . experience the world sans soundtrack. Actually, there's a lot of good stuff in that idea there, I think I'll use it. "Don't mind if I do".
Some inspiration:
Shepard Fairey


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seeing Vs. Observing

Seeing Vs. Observing
I use my eyes to see and observe the world around me. Seeing is about more than just what the eye records: it is about knowing, feeling, and understanding. When I am truly seeing something, whether it is a sunset or the way the branches of the Gary oaks seem to frame the view of the sky, I feel a holistic understanding of the scene or object. I become engaged with it: I can sense it’s weight, texture, what it is made of, and how it works. Seeing becomes a type of empathy with the world and objects around me: I begin to feel as I am a part of it. Aside from meditating or the act of repetitive motion, drawing is a tool that I can use to see the world. It uses a different part of the brain than the one used while observing. 

I observe the street signs while I’m on the bus. I take in this information so that I can tell whether or not I’m going to the right way or how far I am from my stop. I acknowledge that there are other passengers around me. I could tell you if the person sitting next to me was wearing a jacket but I could not describe it’s singularity to you, its folds and wrinkles. When I am observing the world, I am taking in the symbols of my environment and not each individual stimulus. If I did, the influx of information and sensations would probably overwhelm my senses. My brain has developed this buffer so I can function in this world. It hinders my ability to see and understand beyond the codified label my brain gives to things but without it, I would not be able to perform the mundane tasks needed to survive.

Drawing 103

Started my drawing class yesterday. It's an intro to contemporary drawing and painting and an introduction to theoretical issues. I'm intrigued to learn about the theory (ies) of drawing. Drawing is about seeing . . . or is it more than just seeing? It's also about experiencing and recording and understanding the visual world. And what about dreams and the ethereal? Okay, so I guess there's a lot of ground to cover in 6 weeks before we start the painting component lol.
Here's a drawing by Robert Rauschenberg called Erased DeKooning Drawing. It's a statement about being rid of the past (and present) and starting afresh, over and over again: erasing what's been done before and having your own go at it. I really like this . . . it's very inspiring.
Erased DeKooning Drawing, Robert Rauschenberg

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Echoing the Water Bearer

Echoing the Water Bearer, 40" by 30", oil on canvas, 2011
Your sumptuous curves
I could trace for hours on end
with the tips of my fingers
and eyes
looping, scooping
sinewy delights
the purity of your touch
light in your skin
repeated again and again and again
like perpetual motion
deeper in spiral
to my core