Sunday, September 6, 2009
THE box AND HOW TO ESCAPE IT...
I love to think outside the box…
My brain seems to function in that way without actually taking a journey in that direction.
My particular “strength” is the elevated pun (see my online portfolio “T” under alphabet).
When I was producing my alphabet I didn’t actually start out to even come near any letter being a “normal” interpretation such as one would find in a children’s alphabet book.
A is for Apple has no apple in sight rather it is a comment on Eve and Eden, I is about an emotion, a perceived personality trait not frozen water.
In each composition the images and the text support the letter more that the letter inspiring the artwork.
Vitruvian you must admit is a somewhat esoteric word to represent V-it is of course a composition based on Di Vinci,
There is also a colour rhythm that may not leap off the page at you on first viewing but watch from square to square how certain colours weave their way throughout the collection. They are anchors that help the viewer along.
Many colours were sampled from the main image in the separate piece-N for instance was inspired by the
picture of an eccentric Frenchman posed fetchingly in a sea of sienna tulle-the close play of skin tones and fabric made this then altered image irresistible as NUDE…not what one might expect as a classic nude but evocative of all nudes.
Toward the end I was in a place mentally where I really wanted to diverge from my letter if for word format and thus TEA is for Toad and Y NOT? were born.
Again puns, but X is for the unknown is just classic math and the nexus of this
image is in the quote “There’s danger in the unknown”.
I really enjoyed doing the alphabet so much so that I have been going back and adding second version like the ALICE “A” included in my slide show on this blog-how many I do will be dependent on my inspirations-I also have started a file for the 7 deadly sins-they will be large and more complex but starting them lead me into Vampire images-don’t ask me how-that’s just how my demented brain is wired.
I am extremely into layering and sometimes I doubt anyone but me can begin to pick out how many elements are buried in the backgrounds before any other images go on top-the transparency becomes an important tool-almost nothing in any of my compositions is 100% opaque.
I also have gotten heavily into using brushes as erasers and especially to soften the edge of pictures that I drag into a composition-I want them to exist in a state of early decay, worn away, ghostly.
If you ever have the chance and it’s the right time of year by all means visit BODIE (a California ghost town) and nearby MONO LAKE a strange world of Volcanic forms, strange spires of TUFA (the mineral deposits left behind by hot springs) and a ghost town that has been preserved in a state of arrested decay.
The colour palette is narrow; the light is peculiar and harsh especially in the early hours of morning.
You can find some great images of BODIE online but none of them so justice to the experience of wandering through it yourself.
I was there as the sun came up and cows were my only company as they grazed their way through town towards higher pastureland in the next valley.
The close play of colours and how there are certain colours that lead your eye (or assault it as the case may be) are fascinating.
This is I think, how I am wired.
BODIE is very hard to reach-they have kept is so on purpose but I have been there a number of times.
The site draws you on an artistic level-this isn’t Knott’s Berry Farm or some roadside attraction where they have attempted to capture a memory, what exists here is a part of the past or was naturally here.
WHAT STRUCK ME IMMEDIATELY WAS THE SENSE THAT PEOPLE JUST WALKED AWAY.
Even Pompeii where people actually died on the site didn’t affect me like BODIE-Pompeii is eerie and horrifying for knowing about the misery and suffering that were a huge part of the cities end but BODIE is a place that is waiting for a return, a town that was deserted because it had no more to offer, the suffering is in the buildings not in it’s inhabitants.
Places like this are enormous influence on what come out in my art later but often not as you might expect.
I took from Bodie a collection of colour pallets and textures, perhaps an appreciation for the compositions of still life’s in time, Gettysburg left me with emotions which have haunted me ever since I visited there I have yet to grasp those emotions firmly enough to put them into my work but they will be there eventually…Valley Forge is all about pink and white because it was the first time I saw dogwood in bloom…
As artists we collect so many images, colours and fragments that eventually find their way into our painting, drawings and other work.
Perhaps the difference in what I do is to use the inspirations in ways that have nothing to do with the actuality of the place from whence they are drawn.
This is not to say that some element of the emotional aspects of the place don’t find their way in or influence the end product, they may and they have but not as often as you might guess.
Going outside the box requires leaving behind just a bit of the totality of a memory, I carry the strongest elements with me and a bit of the subtlety but not all-it is a snap shot that becomes layered with other snapshots so at the end I may be seeing Bodie layered with Summer grass in the Hudson River Valley and flowers from a late afternoon in Tarry town overlain with sunset in Santa Fe and rock formations along Interstate 40-they are all components in the great stored image library in my head.
Dragging out a word or a song lyric can bring the images with them and then I cherry pick the collection to my benefit.
I don’t know if this gives you an idea of how my creative process works-I have never actually tried to explain it before and I’m not sure I know why I wanted to share it now-I guess because I am on unfamiliar ground and as I venture forth I am more aware of how and why I do thing than I might be in more familiar territory.
I hope you take away some inspiration from this post.
Thinking outside the box in somewhat scary foreign territory can be exilliarting fun and I recommend it highly.
Only you can decide to go there...once you have crossed outside your comfort zone you may find it hard to come back.
Whether or not that is a good thing is something you will need to decide.