I am currently on the way to Italy, so I’m making this update now because I won’t be home until July 6th. I have planned out one of my pieces completley with a sketch in my sketchbook, all I need to do is get the materials. The other piece is still in the works. I have an idea for a material but not much else. My first idea is to use the linoleum print making process that I used for one of my Heart pieces. I want to upscale my piece and instead of using primary colors I want to use different skin tones. I will probably use the same fabric, but I need to order new linoleum blocks and the right ink. I’m not sure how I’ll get the ink in all the colors I want but we will see. My other idea is to use my dads sewing machine saw and cut out a big piece of wood that looks like the silhouette of a head. I’m not sure what else to do with it though, I might keep it simple. I’ll add the picture of my sketches as soon as I get home.
My oil painting progress (beginning of class may 24th, end of class may 24th, and june 3rd) didn't end up getting that far. My base color ended up being too dark because I originally was going to paint the Pellegrino bottle which is green, but I couldn't find another object to go with it so I ended up sharing a still life with Ada. The sketching wasn't too bad and I got it done quickly because the lemons were easy to draw, but the brunaille was difficult because, with the lighting and my base color, it did not show up on my canvas. I had to go straight to white and then grisaille on top of that. In between days we had to move out still life so the lemons moved slightly each time which messed up my piece a little bit. I never ended up getting to color which I'm slightly disappointed about because I wanted to see the effects of having an underpainting and how it helps with the values when it comes to adding the color. However, I really don't enjoy oil painting and I'm glad I didn't have to keep going. I liked it in the beginning but I felt like my painting was just going down hill
After a very long and tedious process, I finally finished my sculpture. Sadly, it didn't end the way I wanted it to but it ended up creating a whole new content that is way more meaningful to me. While finishing the second layer of faces at home I ended up running out of wire. This left me with about two fifths of the sculpture without the second layer of faces. At first I was upset, but then I grew to like it. Upon this event, I titled the sculpture Growing as its a representation of how the people around you affect who are you as you grow up. The second layer of faces represents all the people around you, while the first layer is yourself. While I could have had better time management, I'm proud of my craftsmanship, originality, content, and overall how the project ended up. I really love how it looks and I think I'll further explore sculpture in the future, even though this specific one was a tedious process that I grew to dislike.
Sadly, I don't currently have a picture of my sculpture because I have not been staying at my house recently and I am out of town this weekend until Sunday night. However, I will update this post on Sunday as soon as I can with the picture of the progress I've made. I've been repeating the same process the whole time and still haven't run into any issues. I just make the smaller faces based on the space I need to fill and then attach it and try to make it as stable as I can. The only difficult part is wrapping the smaller wire around the big one because all the other faces get in the way. Right not the sphere is slightly distorted but when I finish putting all the faces on I'm going to bend it back into a sphere-like shape. The white paint is chipping a little as time goes on but I think I'm going to leave it how it is. I still need to paint my wooden base black, and add a few more faces but then I will be done.
John Freyer is a social practice artist from Richmond, Virginia who has a focus on getting rid of the stigma around drug addiction. His Fifty/Fifty project is a traveling series of interdisciplinary, social practice art that creates and contributes to the dialogue around addiction and recovery by taking part in local, regional, and national events. The first of the 3 parts of the project was the Free Ice Water project. This was based on the concept of him learning how to listen again when he first started recovery. The idea was that two complete strangers would sit across from each other and have a conversation based on the prompt, "Talk about a turning point in your life." The second part of the series was Free Hot Coffee. This was a partnership with Rams and Recovery which is VCUs program for students who are in recovery/sober. John Freyer and the students in Rams and Recovery made what they call a 'Recovery Roast' which is a blend of coffee. They built a bike to travel and share their story and spread the idea that people who are recovering can be like everyone else and get a job and live independently. In a way it gave people in recovery someone to look up to. The last part of the project was Free Hot Supper which cumulated an opportunity for a larger dialogue with diverse and unexpected audiences, and it incorporated the ally concept they came up with earlier. Allies are people who don't want to talk about their past addiction or the topic itself, or may not have even had a past addiction, but they are supportive and understanding.
I am really intrigued by Freyer's work. While it isn't something I would try to explore myself, I love all the concepts and want to learn more about his other projects (such as 'All my Life for Sale' in which he sold all of his belongings and traveled around the world to meet the people who bought something, and I'm curious why he did this and how he lived afterwards). The message he puts out with all of his work, removing the stigma attached to addicts who are recovering, is something I feel like isn't talked about enough today and something society should work on. His message is sent out in a very unique and interactive way, and collaborating with college kids adds to his exposure. I love the fact that he makes a coffee roast with them, I feel like thats a really creative and smart way to make his art interactive and always changing. I really like his work and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.
Elizabeth Berrien is an internationally recognized wire sculptor. Berrien was born in 1950 and is known as the godmother of the contemporary wire sculpture movement. As a young child she always had an affinity towards animals. She would lay on her lawn for hours and study small ants and other insects. She said that at age five she was gazing at the ceiling and she visualized a long line looping back on itself. She then began to used a crude form of knitting to make a blanket for her pet turtle. While it was not a success, it was from that point that she began to pioneer new uses for fiber. All throughout her years in grade school she was marked as gifted and excelled in math. Her love for geometry and topology were crucial to her later experiments with wire sculpture.
Berrien always had trouble expressing herself creatively in high school. She says that she could see the "energy lines" that made animals beautiful but she had difficulty transferring them onto paper. She almost abandoned her passion for art until she was forced to enroll in a sculpture class. Her teacher, Kenneth G. Curran, trained Elizabeth to explore different ways to express herself using creative problem-solving. He forced to to go out of her comfort zone and explore the use of wire. When the idea of her going to art school was proposed, Curran fought against it. He stated, "you're a non-conformist. You're doing a good job not being influenced by Alexander Calder, but most college art teachers have a personal mandate to influence the hell out of their students. Just go out there and have a life, the wire will take care of itself."
1. How does Berrien's choice of material impact the content of her work? Does it impact the content at all?
2. How did what was going on in Berrien's life and what was going on around her change her subject of work? Did it change the content? (use information from the bio on her website)
3. Do the events or people from your past or current life affect your body of work similar to the way Berrien's does? Does your choice of material impact your content?
I finished the first layer and disconnected my sculpture from the spool of wire. Then I spray painted it white which didn't work at first and I'm not sure if its going to stick but I decided to do it anyways. We'll see how that goes.
I'm almost done forming the full circle which means I'll finally be able to disconnect my piece from the spool of wire. After that I'll probably spray paint it white then add the second layer of wire.
We had a short studio day today so I did not get much done, but I was able to secure some of the faces together with a thinner wire to make a stronger base. I'm pretty proud of where I am right now and I really like what I chose to do because there isn't really a way for me to 'mess up' since it's an original style and idea. I have about 3/5 of the circle formed and so far it's been an easy process.