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.
Step one: the sketch
Step two: the ink outline
Step three: Color (Marker and Gauche)