Weird week work-wise. I'm a little bit in between projects, but it is important to me to keep working. I have a few strategies to move forward when I'm a little stalled, and one of those is to use materials I have on hand. I went a little mad for acrylic paint markers last winter. In a binge of buying I accumulated at least 30 in various widths and colors. The colors were neutrals, white, gray, black, silver, with one hot pink and one fluorescent green. Well this week I dug them out of storage and dove in. Pictured are two piece I made this week using the white acrylic paint markers on archival gray mat board. My problem with orientation is that I cannot quite decide which way is up; they both look interesting both directions. That is not to say they convey the same meaning both orientations, something as basic as is one looking up or down at something are very different experiences. Is that the top of a building or the base? The two images on the bottom flipped from the original orientations.
Acrylic Paint on Archival Mat Board - 40 x 32 inches
Acrylic Paint on Archival Mat Board - 40 x 32 inches
Original cardboard collage based on nautical flag.
Recycled cardboard, India Ink, watercolor paper, 20 x 30 inches
Eight modifications based on the original created in 'Photoshop'. None of the variations exist except in digital form. This is an effective method to work out ideas without the investment of actually creating the piece, which in some cases is too time consuming.
I have recently pull out some old work that was based on photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. His photographic career was long and varied but Muybridge is probably most well know for his studies of 'Animal Locomotion' where he used multiple cameras to capture motion in stop-action photographs, an early precursor to motions pictures. At the time I made this images I was drawn to his work for a variety of reasons, but one engaging aspect was the background grid against which he photographed many of his subjects. When I discovered his work I was already making photographic panoramas using multiple digital images and 'Photoshop' software. In order to fit separate photographs together I would often have to align them with one another and this made me consider how the idea of two and three point perspective is indicated in lens based image making. As a reaction to that I would often flatten my images, that is, in my mind make the photographic image parallel to the picture plane of the camera, (See my recent post entitled 'Alley Photograph'). Muybridge was indicating this concept by using a grid in the background of his motion studies, essentially flattening the image for scientific procedural purposes. I felt a connection with these studies and from a process standpoint these photographs called out to be digitally manipulated. By selecting individual images and manipulating them, my intention was to create something that Muybrige could not have anticipated, and to bring my own sensibility and sense of play to the final product.
1) Theaster Gates at the MCA. Specifcally a video him performing with his band. It is on the third floor of the museum and it is mesmerizing. The band is great, they play and array of musical styles and compositions. Theaster sits in the middle of the band as they perform holding up what looks like a bound volumn of vintange Ebony magazines. He pages through this tome as the band plays extended and improvised versions of music, some familiar, some not. There is a version of 'Hey Joe', made famous by Jimmy Hendrix, that is amazing. Set aside a little time to engage this video. The show is up through October 6 and the Museum is free on Tuesday to all Illinois residents.
2) Justin Hayford Bow Ties
And who should know more about bow ties than Justin Hayford (of Cabaret fame), he has been wearing them forever. He finally got tired of searching out ties that fit his specific tastes and like any good artist began making his own. He now has a blog and if you ask nicely he will not only sell you a few but give individual lessons on how to tie it properly.
3) Kathy Trumbull Firemente's art projects with Sunlight African Community Center
Kathy has volunteered at this Chicago Uptown community center for many years. She devises art projects for the kids to bring a little creativity into their afternoons at the Community Center. Her most recent project involved famous Chicago Buildings and I was astounded by the resultant images.
I've been biking the Chicago alleys again, not sure what I'm looking for but occasionally a spot calls out to me to make a photo. Pictured is one such spot, don't know what I'm after, but it does cross my mind that this space is a bit of an urban collage.
I uncovered a forgotten series of drawings yesterday as I was preparing for a client visit. These are not large drawings, approximately 12 x 18 inches, but they are made freehand, that is they are made with out the benefit of a straight edged tool as a guide. It is subtle but I enjoy the movement and irregularity that happens in these drawings. The unpredictable qualities of the human hand work against the regularity of the patterning, and against the whole concept of architectural drawing, which often involves precise and measured drawing. These drawings are not difficult to make, only time consuming, and are based on a process that starts with drawing the largest elements first and working your way down to the small details. And of course in a abstract way they refer to Chicago Architecture and buildings I see everyday on the street and out my window.