I’ve realized that each month is easier for me to encapsulate based on a theme. The theme for this month was: find my theme. I know, very interesting stuff. Very theoretical stuff. Very long-standing-internal-conversations-type stuff.

The short version is that all throughout my artistic career as a student, I painted what was fun to me. Not a lot of thought behind the compositions or colors, I just did what felt good. And to be clear, I stand by that and believe it to be a very valid way to approach one’s art. I made good stuff. But now I’m older(I think) and have different contextual lens(I hope). I’m developing a whole new artist statement, a whole new meaning to my work. That is exactly why I’m in this class.

So that’s the big stuff, but allow me to slow down a little and zoom in. When we last left off, I was excited about pink. As of this post, we are now met with a composition inside the sea of pink.

The Current Process

Me applying a (proper) layer of gesso over the pink, thus having to put MORE pink on top. You also can see just how big and weak this canvas is. I promise it is a vibrant hot-pink in person.

I’ve learned a few lessons since we last spoke: 1)Getting a solid gesso layer(s) is just as important as picking a color, 2)I am slow as hell and 3)It takes so much more paint than you think it does to cover a canvas. The cost of being an artist is not just metaphorical, I may very well need to visit Ace Intown monthly to stock up on buckets of paint. It would be the cheapest paint they had, but still. I seem to have forgotten the long nights in Dana the night before a critique, absolutely out of my mind with stress on mixing just enough blue or whatever I needed at the time. Obviously, no-one is keeping me to a schedule the same way, it’s a self-made timeline. I’m just caught off guard.

Which means I do what I usually do and start something else. Now this one has some juice to it. I’m trying a theme.

Again, this orange is much more akin to a highlighter in person.

I took note of my process this time too. I chose a pose that felt good, then a phrase– “You were saying?” — and then a meaning–something about the fat black friend in media being of the joke and not in the joke. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t hit the way I want it to, the meaning came after the other peices.

Regardless I’m glad I got it out of my head. It’s something. It’s progress.

I received a very real piece of advice during one of our critiques from Nell herself. “Get poster boards.”, she says. I hated the idea. Something I’ve always loved about my work is being able to turn my brain off and color in the lines. My vision was just was pink for about 2.5 weeks straight and it was great. Very relaxing. But it took so much time. And I do have more ideas this month. Projection on to the wall and a series of floating big bodies types of ideas…..

So I got the poster boards because, why not? Critiques help you grow and I’m glad to be challenged a little. Walmart had a limited selection but I am nothing if not resourceful. Maybe I’ll cut one into smaller squares. Maybe I’ll use the wacky shapes pack. I’m taking it as an opportunity to make smaller series of work, a step above a sketch. I have a lot of thoughts about using space in more interesting ways. Nell hit the nail on the head, I’m being held back by the material.

I also can confirm: an hour in the studio is definitley not enough time. Not just because of the actual amount of time it takes for me to finish something this size. It takes at least 20 minutes for me to get in a to rhythm and 15 minutes to clean up. I wish I could spend like 4 hours in the studio at a time. Maybe next week. Maybe I’ll add in weekends.

OR.

Going Digital

I could start focusing on phase two of this whole thing. You see, usually I’m favored by The Universe. This past week was not the case. I got sick and I HATE being sick. I’m useless. My time is stolen. My space is destroyed. My brain is off™.

It took an embarrassing amount of time to realize that I could be using this time to do the thing I was bad at making time to do otherwise– learn Blender.

Have I ever mentioned Dedouze? The guy I’m taking a ton of inspiration from this semester? The french pop art graphic illustrator and animator? Yeah he has a tutorial on Blender. Making the cuhyootest bouncy juice box. I am proud to say that I have half of that juicebox completed and love love love this program.

I don’t know how to describe it other than being able to draw in 3D. My brain is buzzing. I keep thinking about recording me working in it, just because. It is equally fun and intimidating. Not only will I have this new skill, this new platform, to showcase my artwork with but I have soooooooooo much room to create.

And here we find the questions again. Will I create a theme? Stick to multiple small works or a few big ones? Am I focusing on shape? Should I have these pieces move? I am enticed, enthralled, and excited by this new frontier.

Building Community

Nell sent our a message about MoCA’s Pin Up show coming up soon. It is the emerging artist event of the season. Famously, artists around Atlanta bring anything less than 20inx20in that can be simply pinned to the wall at any price point below $500 to show, no questions asked. Its cool, its cheap ($15 for non members!) and a fun afternoon. Might even buy something if I feel up to it.

Screenshot from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s website on the Off The Wall Pin-Up Show

And yes, I did have a voice urging me to to create something to pin. But that voice turned very mean very quickly as I got caught up in not being slow with everything else. Then I got sick, which we all know was an insult. Regardless, I will be going and enjoying myself.

The thing I keep finding joy in this class is the community aspect of it. The ones who show up each class are the ones keeping it exciting and valuable. Hearing where Carla is with her videos or Eliza is in her sustainable efforts and even Percie in her interconnected web of thread and textiles is great. Is so so nice to listen to them amongst all my noise.


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