Archive for category Mixed Media
Something I should have blogged about three months ago, but never got around to it- Guacamolly’s first grade class project that I helped with back in April for Teasley Elementary’s Purple Party and Art Auction!
I did write up a little blog post about the piece of art that I donated to the auction to help them raise money, but I never got around to writing about the piece of art that Guac’s class collaborated on.
So, each class at the school made something to be auctioned off at the fundraiser. Mrs. Ivey (Guac’s teacher) and I brainstormed about what to make- something that all 20 kids in the class would each have a part of. I suggested something having to do with recycled materials, or “upcycled” art. We didn’t really have any kind of budget for this project, so we wanted to make sure that whatever we used, could be free, or at least as cheap as possible. I donated pretty much all of the materials including the 4′ x 3′ canvas, all of the paint and glue, and tons of stuff I had lying around like buttons, stamps, confetti, paper scraps, plastic lids from soda bottles and milk cartons. Mrs. Ivey also had lots of stuff in a huge storage bin in her room- scraps of paper, string, tissue paper, cotton balls, etc.
I gave the canvas a coat of pale lavender paint, gridded it off so that each kid would have their own square to decorate, and viola! After spending the entire day on the floor (egad, my knees hurt BAD for the next week!) of the classroom helping the kids each become fabulous artists in their own rights, the finished product was this:
Isn’t it great? The pictures don’t do it justice. I took this particular picture right after it was done, so the glue and paint and what not was all still wet. I didn’t get a picture of it standing up on an easel or hanging on the wall, darn it. Oh well.
There were 4 squares left over after each kid designed their own, so Mrs. Ivey decorated one, and I filled in the last 3 with leftover paint and odds and ends. I wrote Teasly 2011 in one of them:
After I left it to dry over the weekend on the floor of the classroom, I came and picked it up, took it home, and painted layer after layer of Modge Podge and Elmer’s glue over it to seal in all the buttons and stuff. I really hope that it’s held up well for whoever bought it at the art auction. It would suck if all the stuff started falling off, piece by piece, and ended up on the floor behind their sofa or something.
I sent out a few emails to the PTA mothers who were in charge of the auction and the donated art pieces, trying to find out how much things sold for. I would really like to know how much money my personal donated artwork and this classroom project raised for the school. Nobody ever got back in touch with me though. I do know that the entire auction (tickets and dinners included, not just the art) raised roughly $11,000 for the school, all of which paid for field trips for everyone- a little over 500 kindergarten through fifth graders at Guac’s school.
I never thought I would be such an involved mom at my daughter’s school, I just never thought that was me, ya know? Grownup responsibility? That’s crazy talk. But the older Guac gets, the more I do. I paid my PTA dues at the beginning of the school year, I volunteered 3 days a week in the media center, I volunteered at the Scholastic Book Fair, I helped with art projects at Xmas and and this auction, and I chaperoned one of the field trips to the petting zoo. I never thought I would ever admit this, but being a mom’s not half bad :)
I’ve started a new series of mixed media sculptures recently…
I’ve always worked with found objects. My favorite part of using all the small objects that I find in the trash and in junk drawers and stuff is what they become once they are all joined together. It’s the merging of all the tiny parts into one large piece that I find fascinating. Each piece of junk is given a new life that it couldn’t have had on its own. It’s only through the combination of all the items that they start to live as one. Here’s a photo of my first piece that I made back in 1998, I believe. It was an assignment for my 3D-design class in college:
Probably the thing I love the most about “My Box” is that I can pretty much tell you where each individual item came from. Some of it is from when I was a kid, some were my mom’s, some were my nana’s, some were my roommates’ in college… This piece holds so much emotion and love for me.
A few years later, I made this piece:
It looks a little different now than it did when I took this picture. I added a layer of polyurethane to the top of it and took some of the items off, freeing up some space. The colors are a little more muted now because of the polyurethane layer. As a matter of fact, now that I’m looking at this photo of it, I’m seeing at least one piece off of it that was used in something else recently. Huh. Here, take a look at this next picture and see if you can see it.
So with that last picture, you can see the path of evolution that my found object pieces have followed. I now paint them. It’s neat, because the focus has now become the texture of all these individual pieces put together as one. They honestly look like they are all molded or sculpted out of one piece, one block of something… like fudge. Fudge that’s been painted grey or yellow or pink. To me, they look almost edible.
So the title of this piece is “The Black Mold.” It’s a great example of how my husband’s work and my work play off each other on a relatively regular basis. He just recently wrote a short story called “The Black Mold” for an upcoming publication. In his case, mold means fungus, but in my case, it’s the other meaning of the word, mold, like sculpt.
Anyways, I thought it was neat. So all the rest of this series will be “The ____ Mold.” The pink mold, the yellow mold, the grey mold, the blue mold, etc., etc., etc.
And finally, my favorite:
I was recently asked by someone I met how I dealt with letting go of my artwork once I create it. I mean, how do I deal with selling something once I make it? She asked me if I had trouble keeping and holding on to my artwork once I was finished with it.
Well, I explained that I used to have lots of trouble letting go of things and letting other people take them and display them in their own houses and such. I usually spend sooo much time working on a piece that it becomes a part of me and once I finally tear myself away and proclaim the piece finished, I can’t imagine it being displayed anywhere other than the walls of my own home.
She asked, “How did you get over that? Is it something you figured out on your own or is it something you were taught or learned in school?” Believe me, it’s something I had to figure out on my own. It was definitely not something that anyone else could have taught me. They might have tried to help me with it, but I was the only one who could make myself finally come around.
It’s just like when you’re trying to stop smoking or biting your nails, or any other habit that isn’t good for you. And creating and then hoarding your own art isn’t good for you. Friends and family can tell you until they’re blue in the face how bad biting your nails is, or how annoying it is, or how harmful it is to your hands and teeth and all that, but until YOU decide that it’s what YOU want to do, stopping is not an option.
That being said, let me give you a piece of advice- the thing that works for me (almost all the time). Spend as long as you want or need working on something- 6 months to a year on a 4′ x 3′ canvas, for example- and once it’s done, sit back and enjoy it in all its glory up above your dining room table. But then, once it’s lost its exciting “newness,” start making smaller-scale reproductions. Sure, it took you 9 months to complete that one, but now that you know the process and path you took to get to that end point, you can start streamlining the process. Get it done in a month rather than a year.
Believe me, your heart and soul will still be put into the piece, but not such a hefty chunk of them.
I’m not sure exactly who I’ve helped by writing this little blog post, it was just something that I thought I needed to share. Happy arting, kids…
As far as fine art goes, this is the kind of thing I specialize in. Mixed media. Well, mixed media is the nice way to say it. The way I explain it, I make art out of other people’s trash. Whatever isn’t wanted or isn’t valued as something usable, I use it. Broken things, ugly things, discarded things, I love it. It’s the absolutely best way to recycle. The next few images in this post are from my Senior Painting Exhibition from back in 2008 when I graduated college and had my Senior Exit Show, entitled “Immaculate Misconceptions.” All of my work is half paint (mostly oil, some acrylic) and mixed media (which includes, but is not limited to fabric, fur, lace, ribbon, wood, shells, metal, glue, rubber, latex, duct tape, masking tape, toys, plastic objects, flowers, paper, marker, book pages, etc., etc., etc.).
I know I have my artist’s statement from this exhibition around here somewhere too. As soon as I find it I’ll post it as well. It does a pretty good job explaining why I create this kind of art, especially why I created this particular series of art and why I called it Immaculate Misconceptions.