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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!