What have I been up to??
So, this blog has been neglected! Staying busy always has a downside. I thought I should start off with a post about what I’ve been up to.
Over the summer I took a much needed break from the work I was doing last year. I focused on making photographs for clients and personal work. I needed to take a breath of air from the work I was doing and let it settle.
Currently, I’m working on the weekends still doing portraits and other jobs that I can find as well as trying to squeeze in extra studio time. Being a commuter and working is hard. I wish there were more hours in a day and I didn’t have to sleep so much. I’m staying with Amy & Rachel when I can. They are wonderful and have saved my sanity this year, already.
I have been looking at different shows that I might enter past work. I have stayed far from this until the past month or so and I finally decided to submit some things into a show. This has been a big deal for me because I have avoided any shows since I’ve been in the program.
I came in a few weeks before the semester started not knowing what I was going to make. I began to strip some things away from the work last semester to find new direction. The system I kept coming back to in my notes was water. Last semester I was making work in response to the current events I was reading about (And there was a lot of experimentation going on). Coming back into the studios I just wanted to start making SOMETHING because I was feeling stuck. What seemed to be at the heart of last semesters work dealt with water systems & contamination. I have been asking myself the question what does it mean to be an environmental artist and my research has been in this area.
I began exploring the form of water in different ways. I tried using the bare element of just water (no pigment) on different papers to see how the material would react.
I started a series of line drawings, thinking about the form of water in an abstract way. I accidentally spilled a cup of blue paint in this process and decided to clean it up with bristol paper. I stamped the paper on the spill that I had made using my feet and hands. Like you would do cleaning up any spilled mess on the floor. Something about picking up the spilled paint with the paper seemed interesting at the time. So, I made a series of them and that is currently what I’m working on. I let them dry without altering the paint on the paper, letting the water flow and make forms on the paper. Going back into them and drawing over the forms. I am not sure exactly where this work is headed but what I am interested in is how water has so many associations. I’m looking at it from a ton of different angles and that can be a good and bad thing. It’s fluid, pure, polluted, destructive, peaceful, dirty, powerful, calm, it’s uncontrollable, but we try to control it, etc.. the list goes on. This felt like I was on the right track but have since started questioning my work altogether. I am looking forward to getting more feedback. Some direction I have thought about heading is illustrating (in some form) some of these associations with water, so you get that feeling of the act of being uncontrolable, etc. . .
I have been listening to the book, “The End of Nature” by Bill Mckibben. Which talks about humans influence on natural systems. The end of nature doesn’t necessarily refer to an apocalypse, but rather it talks about how nature is not this big thing anymore—to put it simply. We have altered the air and water so much that our footprint can never be removed from it—questioning what this means? From simple watersheds to the Ozone layer we have altered it all, destroying life and changing ecosystems. He gives a lot of information about DDT’s, acid rain, GMO’s, global warming, etc.. The author questions what kind of “nature” we will have in the future and what that will mean to our society. He quotes everyone from scientists, ecologists, to Henry David Thoreau. It’s a little slow but is so rich with information that it’s overwhelming. I am really interested in this book because he takes a holistic approach to this issue. It has been his life’s work. The reason I am drawn to this is because I am fascinated with the connections. It relates to my interests in systems because everything really is connected whether we want to think about it or not.
Now it’s just time for me to start cranking out these ideas in a physical form in my work. The water paintings are a study of the form of water. I need to take it to the next step.