Monday, October 31, 2011

Look at this silly thing!

He's soooo so pretty : )

IP: Materials

So finally some new advancements have been made in the decisions towards what materials to use for my projects. For my series of beetle portraits I've acquired my wood panels and have begun sanding and shellacing them so that I can start painting them as soon as this week. I was having a horrible time finding metallic paints for the beetle shells. Most "metallic" acrylic colors I'd been finding are very muted and lack range. I looked at decoractive paints and interior house paints--all very pastelle. THEN I REALIZED some of the best metallic paints were right under my NOSE! Nail polish has some of the most brilliant metallic colors anyone (especially girls) could ever want! Toxic it may be, but as long as I paint in a ventilated room I should be fine.

National Geographic clippings that inspired the "Beetle Portraits"


Final wood panels
As for my landscape I'm still wondering how to best apply the "grass" to the foam molded setting BUT I know how I'm going to represent the trees.
I was immediately knocked to the ground as soon as I saw this new commissioned piece by Ingo Maurer:
This work has so much to do with my project and this feeling of wanting to be connected to nature but with out sacrificing the comfortable man-made world we're created. This Chandelier is a beautiful fuse of natural visual elements with contemporary human practicalility. Nature representing the beautiful (but not useful) and man-made technology as the practical (but not inherently beautiful) and formless. WOO! I'd love to have one of these in my house... I'm probably the best example of this feeling, of wanting to be connected to nature through staying disconnected, that I'm trying to portray in my project.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

IP: Back to the Updates

Ok so the project is constantly moving forward, many different elements at a time. There is so much to report.

So a good place to start is with my proposal. It's basically an extended version of what I wrote in my post explaining the concept behind my project but the proposal also includes a more specific definition of what the physical object(s) will be. Here is that:


My project is in response to an innate longing and fantasization of the natural world specific to the technological generation. We, as a young people of the modern world, are separated from nature in our modern day routine. This is quite a new phenomenon in the spectrum of human existence. Because “Nature” has been a part of us from the beginning of life itself, when plants and animals were hardly distinguishable, I think we can feel that it is unnatural for us to be so disconnected from the earth from which we were made. But we have no pure outlet for this feeling because we know nothing about a life that truly does involve nature. Our human society has diverged from its natural origins to being completely enveloped by human creations. So, knowing of nature’s existence but not being within it, thoughts of nature and ideas of the natural world begin to grow in an area of our brains that deals with the unknown, mysterious and idealistic spheres–our imagination. Artists, early in this century, when nature was quickly becoming less and less a part of our lives, began to combine the subject of an ideal lush, decorative nature and narrative fantasy—the idea behind Art Nouveau. Mucha, Parrish, influence from Japanese wood blocks and organic elements in architecture and furniture design are all evidence of this switch. Authors wrote and are writing, now more than ever, about the lost relationship between man and mother nature, and have set many idyllic fantasy stories in grand natural environments, i.e. Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa, and many more.

My project is not trying to solve this problem or bridge this gap because that is an endeavor much too large for a mere piece of art to take on and to hope to accomplish. What I wish to create is a series of objects that visually represent this feeling of loss or longing that has been created within us and to bring it to the surface within the viewer. These objects will hold the feelings of mystery-nostalgia that is sparked by old photographs of places you’ve never seen or been to. They will spark a narrative or adventure in the viewer perhaps reminding them of days where a simple flower chain crown could take them into a completely different world full of imaginary creatures and a challenging quest through a natural world. These feelings and memories are very personal to each of us and so many of the players in the decision making process when creating these objects are coming from my own archive of influential items and memories. My idea for this group of objects now includes:

-A head dress / photo-documentation - something to wear

-A make-believe landscape / medallion - an abstract object used for ceremony or celebration

-A series of Beetle portraits - other creatures / characters / society

-A framed piece of land - a narrative setting / an idea of beauty


The materials for these objects are home-made/man-made materials (such as yarn, fabrics, fake flowers, paint, photography etc.) to represent that these are ideas and fantasies made up by the human who is using what information and materials they can gather living in a non-nature oriented life. In a way these are objects created by an imaginary “average” individual who is trying to fill a void in their life that nature and adventure once satisfied.


So, I have been gathering up the many different kinds of materials I will need: yarn, gridded rug cloth, hooks, wood panels, fake flowers, paint, insulation foam, cardboard, wood etc. and have started working on each individual piece of the project.

I need to take a few more pictures but I can start by showing my process images and for my first illustration I did.

Step one: the sketch

Step two: the ink outline

Step three: Color (Marker and Gauche)

And I'm actually going to do one more version where I'll color it digitally. I didn't quite get the effect I was going for with the prismacolor markers but... it's close.

This picture wasn't created with one specific motivation in mind but one idea that I'd been playing around with was that nature is over sexualized/idealized. She, nature, is often only appreciated for her beauty and is seen as this "pure and gentle" presence. We have this feeling because we really only visit nature (during her "good" seasons) and for very short amounts of time. We very easily ignore the fact that she can be a tough and sometimes ugly thing to deal with if, perhaps we tried to live alone in the woods for more than a few days. And that earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters are also part of nature.

More to come...

Monday, October 3, 2011

IP: feelings from nature

Dad's Birthday Gift

Acrylic on a cut of Sassafras.

IP: Home Decor

So, on the point of changing materials and context (from the original Diorama idea) I've been thinking about using some more unconventional materials, like carpeting and furry fabrics to recreate a more scaled out view of natural landscapes.

There are some artists that do this already but they lean towards making these things more functional than representational. They also almost always take inspiration from farm land rather than unaltered natural land...

Landcarpets by Florian Putcher

IP: Artists Who Venerate Nature


Princess Mononoke, Totoro, Nausicaa


--, Mountain Ecstasy, --


Winter, --, Summer

You can click on the images to make them bigger. I highly suggest it, the Parrish and Mucha's are really beautiful up close.