Tag: material

Yes.

While I was in Chicago, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of feedback I received and consequently the number of ideas I had for my work. I wasn’t sure which path to go down and which method best suited my goals. This is how I was feeling when I had a studio visit with Gregg Bordowitz, the program director. I discussed my struggles with him, as well as my goals. He gave me tons of great advice, including one piece that became a major turning point for me.

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About a week or two earlier, I had gone to a fabric shop and picked up this piece of bright red-orange polyester material from a clearance bin. I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, I was just drawn to the color. I hung it up in my studio like this for a while and didn’t touch it. During my meeting with Gregg, we looked at the material as we discussed creating a “yes” wall. His instructions were as follows: 1) For 3 or 4 days, say “yes” to everything. 2) The next day, say “no.” Cover things up and make conscious decisions about what you want to include. I was really excited to try it out and decided to use the red-orange material since it was already something I’ve never used before.

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I had a lot of fun at first. I drew a large figure without worrying about proportions. I didn’t plan, I just painted. The fabric absorbed the paint quickly so I had to change the way I usually paint. The process was quick and pretty crude. I was happy with the piece so far and didn’t really want to add anything else, but it was my “yes” wall, so I forced myself to do more.

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I added more things and started to like it less and feel stuck. I started becoming concerned with the composition and I thought that I had already put too many colors so I stepped away from it for a few days and worked on other things. I guess at this point I wasn’t following the directions anymore.

When I did come back to it, I was in the zone. I used different materials and added text, numbers, shapes, images, and texture. By the time I “finished”, it had become my favorite piece from the whole summer. I’m really proud of it.

Yes.

Here is a list of the materials I used: acrylic paint (liquid, heavy bodied, and soft bodied), ink, oil pastel, oil stick, clear plastic, liquid watercolor, diabetic socks, medical tape, and thumbtacks.

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I’m not sure what’s going to happen with this piece. Right now it’s folded up in a bag until I find somewhere to hang it up. I might add more to it, but it’s more likely that I’ll make a new one using a similar process.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Medicine as Material

 

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During my residency in Chicago, I had several discussions with my advisor Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. She was awesome and gave me so much inspiration and guidance. During one of my individual studio visits with her, I was talking about my obsession with the color pink, especially bubblegum or Pepto Bismol pink and she said, “Why don’t you paint with Pepto Bismol?” She then went on to suggest that I paint with a variety of medicines just to see what happens.

The next day I think, I went to Walgreens and picked up some of the cheapest medicine I could find. I got the Walgreen’s version of Pepto Bismol, aspirin, sugar free cough drops, ibuprofen, cold medicine, glucose tablets, and glucose liquid, plus some extra things like alcohol swabs and socks for diabetics.

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I made a couple pieces with the medicine. My favorite is the first piece that I made. I took a piece of unprimed canvas and pinned it to the wall so that it would lay horizontally with assistance from a chair. I proceeded to squirt, splatter, and drip the pepto, cold medicine, and some liquid watercolor onto the canvas. The liquids sat on the surface of the canvas for days before finally getting absorbed into the fabric and drying. It was pretty interesting to see how it changed each time I went in my studio.

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I also experimented with imprinted surfaces. I put a layer of spackle on two small boards and pushed ibuprofen, cough drops, and some bottle caps into it. I also squirted cold medicine onto the surface as it dried. I ended up painting on top of everything once it was dry.

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Here are a few more pieces where I mixed paint and liquid medicine:

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DSC_2226Thanks for reading!

 

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The Sugar Sickness is Coming for You

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During my first residency in Chicago, sugar became an important material for me. In week 2, I was thinking about sugar a lot. I thought about going to birthday parties as a child and not being able to eat the birthday cake. I thought about the countless times people have said to me, “You can’t have sugar, right?” I thought about my struggles with my weight, especially in high school. The nice thing about being in grad school is that I was surrounded by other artists who I could discuss my thoughts with.

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Like I said in my last post, a colleague suggested that I actually use sugar as a material in my artwork. The thought fascinated me and I was eager to try it out. The first thing I did was research sugar skulls. I knew that sugar skulls are pretty sturdy and last a long time when made correctly so I looked for a recipe and then bought the ingredients. I wanted to make insulin vials out of sugar, but first I needed a mold. I bought moldable plastic on amazon and that worked well, but my final mini sculptures weren’t as clean as I wanted them to be and they broke easily. I didn’t make any more of them because of time limitations, but now that I’m home I plan on experimenting to find a better method/sugar mixture.

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I also tried painting with sugar and I was much more satisfied with these results. I mixed sugar and water on a stove until the consistency was gel-like and then I mixed some with acrylic gel medium and sometimes acrylic paint and I left the rest plain. I applied the sugar mixtures on Yupo paper in a variety of ways:

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Later on, I made more sugar mixtures and applied them onto unstretched canvas in several layers. This one also has food coloring in it.

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My favorite part about this piece was watching the sugar crack and fall off, revealing this crystal texture underneath:

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I also painted a long piece of black canvas with sugar. Here’s part of it:

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I made a few more pieces on Yupo paper and watercolor paper and even added a few drops of blood to the sugar. Get it? Bloodsugar?

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I plan on continuing to experiment with sugar in my work because whether the results are good or not, I really enjoy the process. In my next post, I’ll talk about another non-traditional material that I worked with. Thanks for reading!

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Inspiration: Texture + Pattern

One of the things I enjoy the most about my new DSLR camera is that I can take pictures of things up close without the image becoming fuzzy. I like focusing on interesting textures and patterns, and lately it has been giving me ideas for new artwork.

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Here are some images I took of my various bags. Most of them are from thrift stores. Any bag with an interesting texture or pattern always grabs my attention first :]

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I love the look of mixing different patterns and textures. I think I’ll incorporate that more into my own work. Thanks for reading :]

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