Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Do You Believe? Burning Man Art Project

My adventure in creating a giant art journal page the size of a mural in the inhospitable environment of Burning Man.  One of my art goals in this last year has been to start to work larger. I have been dreaming about working in larger formats and even envisioning creating huge installations.  I adore the intimacy of small artwork and rich tiny details but I craved the visual impact of SIZE.
I think I have done fairly well at challenging my self to work larger this year.  The pieces I created for my featured show at Tasty were all much larger than my norm with  Survivor Moth being almost 4ft by 4ft.
I also worked on creating an environment for my pieces with  hundreds of soft sculpted shapes strung on cords.  That ended up looking a bit more like popcorn or snow from a distance. I was going for surreal alien polyps.   (It was super hard to photograph. I wish I had better photos)
If you follow my blog you know I am a lover and participant in the social artistic experiment that is Burning Man.  I started my working larger project with a “small” (aprox 5ft sq.) project in Center camp in 2011.
This was the year I turned 40  and this piece was called “Looking back and Looking Forward”  It had pieces of my prom dress, old lovers letters, and the flag from my father’s funeral.  It truly was the first “large piece” I have done. It was very personal and looking back I still love parts of it and hate others.
When I painted the red and white stripes in the background I was thinking circus but they ended up reading as patriotic American symbolism. Not what I was planning!
Nor did I set out to include a VERY large American flag in this years piece. (The same flag from my father’s funeral which came with lots of complicated emotions)  I don’t consciously resonate with the symbolism of the American flag.  But both pieces are about me and my experiences. I grew up a girl and woman in the American culture embedded with symbolism of the American flag for better and for worse.  This subject is worthy of a college dissertation which I am not qualified for or motivated to do.   I am going to leave this part of the story at the fact that the symbol  of the flag is embedded in my existence as an American artist even when I try to avoid it.
It is interesting how creating has a way of taking you down a different path than you planned, bringing up symbols and concept you weren’t planning on exploring.
What Do You Believe? is the largest piece of work I have created to date ( 8ft x 16ft)  I wanted to approach it as a giant art journal page with images, text, and exploration. 
  • I discovered drafting size photocopies and fell in love.
  • Used a gallon and half of wallpaper paste much of which had dust from the playa mixed in to it.
  • Used at least a hundred staples to secure the vintage wedding gown from blowing away in the intense wind on the playa.
  • And had the opportunity to show my work to 40,000 people and to build long term meaningful connections with some. 
This project was a HUGE undertaking that I took on in a very short period of time. I had two weeks to layout the design in my studio and two days to install it at Burning Man.  Next time I do this I want 6 months. When I look at the picture of this piece it still feels unfinished to me but I could have spent my entire time at Burning Man fussing with the details and still not felt like it was finished.  Thank God for my partners order to “put your brush down and come enjoy Burning Man!!!”.

In process


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mixed Media Assemblage Junk Bird Class

Had a great group of people out to the studio to build bird out of junk. I love to see the great diversity of creations that happen.  Same instructions and same basic materials and such a creative variety of art.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Walking to Work

In the last weeks before blanket of snow we are currently covered with the weather was quite lovely and I enjoyed walking to work. My mom joined me a couple of days which made it extra nice to walk and get to have great conversations. Most of the walk is on the roads but I detour and walk through a sweet park along the river with beautiful old trees
Also enjoying playing with the quick easy photo editing on my new tablet 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gutsy Doll Work Table

I am preparing samples for my upcoming class this weekend working with the Art Doll format but incorporating sausage casings or gut. Totally strange and fabulous technique that I learned from Melissa Manley and then adapted to work with my medium.  It’s a two day class where we will start with a reclaimed porcelain doll and then build armatures out of wire such as wings, fins, and skirts and then stretch the wet gut over them the first day and return the next day to see the magic of the gut and finish up our dolls with paint and fabric. 
For more class info: Gutsy Doll Feb 15,16th
now for some fun pictures….
This is all the prep before I start adding the gut… stay tuned

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Dollmaker

Last spring I was approached by some wonderful people, Lisa Cooper and Dan McComb of Visual Contact to see if I would be interested in being a part of their Maker series of videos. I get a lot of emails from people wanting me to participate in this or do that, and a lot of them never amount to anything. So before proceeding I went to check out Lisa and Dan's work and was totally blow away by the quality of their work. So I said YES sign me up... “sure I will somehow fit that in between this show and that conference.”  Just earlier this month that seed that was planted and diligently nurtured  by Lisa and Dan bloomed into an this amazing video. The Dollmaker is visually delightful  and also speaks to poignantly  to "why" I make the art I do. Thank you Lisa and Dan for the huge amount of work it took to make this video come into being.



It was nerve wracking to be filmed while working and seeing yourself on video not so much fun…. I was in total denial about the size of my double chin.  LOL

But the visual they captured of my studio are creepy and beautiful.  I do have to admit that my favorite part of the video if I had to pick one is the narrative. We sat down and did an interview for 45 mins while filming and then they edited it down to the parts that would work with the video.  The words that were chosen are PERFECT.  They really speak to why I make the art I make and what it means to me. I want to share some of my favorite lines with you…

“The doll is an icon of our humanness and we have idealized it but the reality is we are not ideal.

I want to give them the nitty gritty rough tough life they deserve

It has the energy of the people that have used it held it and those pieces speak to me

I was actually raised to more like the pristine pretty doll that sits on the cupboard and is revered and that doll is kind of…. boring

I want to be the doll that lives a life that isn’t afraid, that makes mistakes. That makes choices that aren’t the right choices.

It is the idea that sacred is also sexual, the pristine is also dirty.

That living life and having the scars of life is valuable.

We are afraid of death and darkness and dirty and shadow, we want to pretend that doesn’t exist we don’t want to talk about it we don’t want to look at it, we want to put it in the back closet and the reality is it here it’s with us all the time.

I want to take that darkness and shadow and that dirt and make it beautiful, because it is ….beautiful.”

If you or someone you know need high quality video word done I highly recommend Lisa and Dan.



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