The last days…

I will be so glad when this is all over… the self doubt, the exhibiting part, the assessment, the damned crazy business of getting it all as I see it in my mind, as I have seen it for the past few months. Getting others to see that vision.

Each piece of work I have undertaken this year has been installation. Not through planning, I never saw myself as an installation artist, but it has just happened. So I am discovering something about myself as an artist through my work, through experimenting, playing, making… letting the path twist and turn… But when it comes to setting up, I look at the clean simplicity of a picture on a wall, a screen on a plinth, a graphic on a laptop… and I wonder why I make things so difficult and messy for myself.

So… I made a cloak, well, part of a torn, worn, ancient cloak. I used pieces of recycled velvet in many shades of red. It is worn and torn, unpicked and restitched. This will hang on one of the trees, it represents the many layers of self, and the many retellings of the story. The story of the hero’s journey, the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the story of the wolf, the story of me…

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Here is a detail of the patchwork and rough stitching…

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Then I started to hang a few trees, trying to get an idea of what I need before Monday. About three of the trees/branches are good to go. I need to go and source more in the bush behind my property. A very awesome thing happened while I was hanging the trees… a gorgeous shadow picture appeared on my newly painted wall… I tried to capture it on my iPhone…

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This is how ‘Desire’ is looking at the moment:

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I need a title too, for the whole thing, I am thinking In Search of the Wolf…

Ok, off to the woods I go…

 

 

Ever feel someone is tapping your dreams?

For the past few months my dreams and my days have been filled with Ruby and her journey through the forest, into the shadows with her animus. Soon this stage of her journey will be captured in the big end of year final thing… except Ruby will keep going, the journey is never over.

Just a few minutes ago I came across the work of Pierre Huyghe. Don’t tell me there is no collective unconscious… geez it feels like this dude and I have been invading each others dreams…. I looked at a couple of images of his work and felt I knew it… check these out:

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He even has the red ribbon.rag thingy…! I must look further into his work because the write ups I have read so far are totally fascinating, and deliciously inspiring to boot :)

Images retrieved on 22/10/14 from:

http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/pierre-huyghe%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cin-border-deep%E2%80%9D/

The making of a wolf nose…

Well, after trying a zillion methods of trying to construct the wolf head mask for Ruby, I came back to good old cardboard and that most faithful of household staples, duck tape. I drew a shape, a sort of birds eye view of a wold head outline,  and then cut s strip of card about an inch wide, and folded it around the drawn shape. I fixed it with duck tape. Then I shaped more card strips around it using Ruby’s head as a guide.

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Next I worked on the ears but they are a bit strange looking:

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Finally I covered the whole thing with tissue and dilute PVA. I had to gesso over the duck tape first as the PVA wouldn’t stick to it.

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I think the nose looks a bit odd and long, but I will work on that when I add the furry bits! Wolf ears change in every picture I look at, so I decided that as cat ears are similar I would study my cats… but their ears change a lot too…

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Incidentally if anyone know the correct term for those wolf mask/hats I would love to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rapunzel – A Poem

This is a poem I wrote a few years ago but tend to re-visit and revise now and then. I once planned a series of fairy tale poems, but then art got in the way of writing. I see them moving in together in the future…

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Rapunzel… Rapunzel
let down your hair
to be twisted and pulled
and wrenched from the roots
at your towers foot…

No gentle Prince awaits you there…

No… we of old pain
worn down, harsh, raw with grief
we seek to punish…

We do not care

As we trample on fragile endings
our boots, encrusted with ancient mud
we close our eyes
we do not dare…
to see… To feel..
or let some kind word
escape through parched lips.

From these hardened hearts
no compassion we share

Rapunzel…  Rapunzel
let down your hair
for we are weary…
Allow us some sanctuary
shelter from harsh reality
where we will remain
thankless souls

Rapunzel…  Rapunzel
the bastards cut your hair
Shorn of strength
disempowered in your tower
you grieve
for those lost ones…
the poets
and the dreamers
who felt only their pain
never allowing for your sorrow

Yet still you bow you head
and weep for them

As those proud
but snagged locks
fall to icy flint floor

Rapunzel, Rapunzel
come down from your tower
it is no safe haven
but your prison
Afraid of your strength
they blinded you
and kept you there
with threats of dragons and witches
and blackhearted suitors

Rapunzel Rapunzel
come down from your tower
Hold your head high
bring forth your pride
and watch those cheats and liars
and feint hearted triers
as they tremble and cower
in the shadow of your power
as you pass them by

Rapunzel Rapunzel
let down your hair

Big Bad Wolves, Vampires & Cookies…

I don’t like Oreo cookies, but I do like their current advertising campaign :)

The Martin Agency have the right idea about advertising in my book. This is a quote from their website:

Known for its innovative approach to marketing, Oreo has been the world’s favorite cookie for more than 100 years. The shared connection over an Oreo is universal. Our latest campaign, Wonderfilled, focuses on the positive change in perspective the simple act of sharing an Oreo can create, tapping into the universal human feeling of wonder. The ability to wonder is something we all share, but too often forget or ignore.  Wonderfilled captures the feeling that kids are naturally so good at, yet adults need to be reminded of: a sense of wonder in the world.

And this is what I am raving on about:

And another one, what an awesome imagination this company have! Enjoy advertising at its best :)

Formative Assessment

Today I set up my work as it stands now,  in the studio for the formative assessment. It was a useful exercise as I learned several things:

  • I need a lot more space than I first envisioned if I am to present my work this way in the exhibiton at the end of the year.
  • My mixed media work of the girl and the beast will look great if it is much bigger. I have sourced some quotes and I think I will get it printed onto a wrapped canvas, in at least A2 size.
  • Given more space I think shadows could work really well even with ambient lighting, depending where I am in the gallery.
  • I need to do the technical research to ensure that my trees and trophy are stable once installed. For the formative I relied on masking tape.

Anyhow, here are the images, the trophy of course has a way to go, but on the whole I am please that I have a clear vision of what my final work will be like.

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Antlers for Ruby

I spent a couple of hours today working on Ruby and her antlers. I had to carve out a polystyrene ball and insert in inside her head to hold them in place. It will still need some weighting though.

The images below show the various branches I tried. The one I really loved was way too large in the end for the scale of the head but I am pleased with how she looks now, which is the image on the bottom right.

Photos from Sep 2014 Photo Stream

 

Advice from Einstein

I am not sure if fairy tales make children intelligent, but it certainly gives them a basis for working out feelings. They are a wonderful way of comparing a situation in the child psyche, with a resolved story. The child knows it will all be ok. A great of this, is Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

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Image retrieved on 12/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/mjx39od

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Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith is an artist who I totally get. An American artist, born in Germany in 1954,  Smith occupies a unique place in the art world. Her work is varied, versatile, powerful, weird and wonderful. There is no artist I have found who works as she does, except myself, and I am a mere fledgling.

Kiki Smith works in several different media and her exhibitions bring together etchings, painting, textile art, sculpture, book art and photography. The glue for these works is a central theme for each exhibition. In the late 1980s  and early 1990s Smith worked with themes surrounding body issues, effluvia, and taboo. Her work has often featured female iconography and more recently the female icons have been plucked from the world of the fairy tale.

In the sculpture below we see a different take on Little Red Riding Hood.

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/m723ljx

This time a drawing entitled, ‘Wearing the Skin’, this image reflects how I portray the Red and the wolf in my own art.

Wearing-the-Skin-Kiki-Smith-2002Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/l8pjrqc

In an interview with Psychology Today,  Smith said:

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision. As a child I prayed that my calling be revealed—but not with expectation and not with a destination. I became an artist because I didn’t know what to do and I thought it was really fun to make things.

I like her words as much as I like her art. Making art, being creative because you have to, is the difference I think between being an artist and being anyone else. I am amazed that not everyone has this burning need to create, that not everyone obsesses over colours, shapes, light, shadows, the way I do, that not everyone regularly takes a hundred photos on a morning walk.

I was also very excited to discover that Kiki Smith worked with fairy tales, and that we had much in common in our media and themes, if not expertise. I had already planned that my personal work would be a collection of various different media and techniques around my theme. Finding out that an artist whose work I admire and respect, both creates and exhibits her work in this way, strengthened my concept for me personally.

More about Kiki and her work soon. I discovered her fairy tale work through a cover on one of my Jack Zipes books. The cover art was created by Kiki Smith in 2002, it is entitled Born

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/o7qatwa

 

 

Go for witchy…

We had an APA referencing session in the library this morning. It was good to find some of the sites available in the depths of the NMIT library website. Can’t help but wonder why this was not given to us right at the beginning of the course though, it would have made a lot of sense, especially when I was doing the writing diploma! Anyway it was useful.

Yesterday, I had a wee tutorial with Jose, one of our tutors, about my work, and that gave me confidence in what I am doing. Jose said she can see how all of the things I said in our first tutorial have come together, and that made me happy. Although the path I am currently treading feels right to me, it is good to know that it feels right to someone else too. I have been having many more ideas since then now I feel that I have a license almost to carry on, it seems to have opened the floodgates.

Some of the things I learned today:

I want to carry on my theme of forests, trees and shadows in this current work, especially in the final presentation. I am going to present my work in a forest-like setting, hopefully I can have shadows on the white walls of the Refinery Gallery where the exhibition is to be held. I would like to use one of the white painted brick walls, and I will need a corner. I have already been looking for suitable tree branches to use in my setup!

There is a lot of art in this world that concentrates on the darker less attractive side of life, and the abject. While I can appreciate the meaning behind latex shower curtains with embedded pubic hair, or unmade beds surrounded by the daily mess of a depressed human being, this is not what I want to do.  I can admire those who spend their artistic talents in making shocking  statements about society, and how we live,  but my way is more subtle. I have seen the dark side of life, I have experienced rape, violence, abuse and madness, and maybe because of this, I want to make something beautiful from the darkness, rather than focus on the murky detritus.

When you are caught up in a project, and then start thinking about your audience, anxiety can set in and you wonder if they will get it, and because of this you can be trapped into becoming too literal to get the point across, this is something Jose helped me to see, and something I want to avoid. So I am going to make my art without worrying too much about whether anyone gets it or not, and that is extremely freeing.

I can get witchy… I am witchy but it is ok to let it come out… woohoo!!

My current wall display… I do like the antlers a lot… the dark murky image near the bottom is a work in progress which went wrong due to an overdose of gel medium, but it is still useful a template.

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The view from my studio window :)

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