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



Charley said...

Wow!!! I love your art work. Very eclectic....kind of the way my brain works!!! I'm just out surfing blogdom. My wife and I recently moved to Alaska and I've started a photo blog of the the amazing area surround our home, if you are interested in seeing the photos I've posted, my blog is called "Photos from the Journey"; the address is:

Linda Sue said...

I could spend hours sussing just one tiny section of this piece. The entire thing ? WHOA! Good thing the images on blog are small, I would never get out otherwise. Powerful fabulous work, and to put it up in dust, heat and wind, remarkable. I am in AWE!


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