Wednesday, June 19, 2013
as i move to the next stage of decorating my torso (it's finally the color i want it to be - funnily enough, based on leftover paint from my beloved blue room), i find myself turning to saul steinberg. a jew who fled europe in the years leading to WWII, he became the quintessential new yorker and was, for years, a cartoonist at the new yorker.
i'm drawn to his simple lines, his use of rubber stamps, his clever fingerprints, his small topographies and the way in which he mixes styles. especially that last bit.
i do like to draw and mostly i draw plants and feathers, but also buildings - barns and houses. i had a couple of steinberg's books from the library a couple of months ago and i snapped these iPhone shots of the things i wanted to save.
there's something about me and inspiration and i never know when i will actually use it, but i am a compulsive collector of things which inspire. but, if you've been coming around here any length of time, or follow any of my 119 pinterest boards, you know that.
i love this passport photo steinberg made with his own fingerprints. a passport is an identifying document, and what could be more identifying than a fingerprint. it's genius.
this seems to have been made of spilled ink - i love the notion that something artistic and beautiful can come of a mistake and i imagine being able to use that on my torso somewhere.
here's some of that mixed style i was referring to - all within one piece. the man in the middle is my favorite. people aren't really something that i draw much, but i'd like to try something like that.
i love the way these small, disparate drawings are connected by ladders and stairs, it has an autobiographical ring to it that i think will be perfect on my torso.
and a collection of meaningful objects - this is the kind of thing i draw in my art journals - just collections of the random things which are lying around the house.
and this use of rubber stamps in an unexpected fashion just speaks to me. i guess i'd better get to work.
what/who is inspiring you?
Monday, June 17, 2013
it's time for a little torso project update. some of the creative women from the original torso project weekend met up yesterday to show their finished products/works in progress and to discuss next steps towards showing the work.
the end results are as diverse as the women themselves. as i see it, the common thread for all is autobiography. these casts of our very bodies, frozen in a moment in time, are the canvas for a snapshot of all that we feel has made us who we are, right here and right now.
words, photos, maps, yarn, paint, drawings, color - all have been used to depict the individual lives of each of us. how we see ourselves and how we imagine that others see us. these torsos hold fragments of our memories, our lives, our documents, our experiences. they are there, written on our very bodies.
but i find myself thinking about whether they are art. we used artistic techniques - collage, paint, photography, one person even "drew" in yarn, as you can see above - but did we achieve actual art? which raises the more complicated question of what is art anyway? it's a bit like that old joke about pornography, "i know it when i see it." and i can't help but think that what we made wasn't art per se.
but if it's not art, then what is it? it is expressive. and highly personal. it is storytelling. and a bit of art therapy, in that i think we all found it therapeutic to look within for our memories and stories. but to ask a museum to display our work would be a stretch. a big one. maybe it would be different if yoko ono or madonna had been part of our project - they would lend caché and would have perhaps lifted us all in our visions and our work. one of the most powerful things we did yesterday was that each person shared the thoughts behind their torso. and it made them so much more meaningful to hear people's stories. but art needs to be able to stand alone, as we can't stand them beside at an exhibition and explain them to people.
but the fact is that we are a bunch of creative people in a little town in the middle of nowhere in denmark who happen to have tried to tell a little piece of the story of who we are in the form of a plaster cast of our own bodies. and while a few members of the group are trained as artists, as a whole we are not. we are teachers and office workers and librarians and nurses and consultants and physical therapists and prison guards. and those are wonderful things to be.
what we had was an amazing experience - to make those torsos together in a room of 20+ women. baring ourselves (literally) and opening up our hearts and experiences and stories and sharing them is a powerful thing, a wild woman sisterhood sort of thing. but where do we go with it? we are going to exhibit them locally at the end of august, but i wonder beyond that. they might fit well in a library exhibition, connected to other forms of autobiography, or to part of a storytelling conference. but i honestly don't think we'll convince a museum or a gallery to show them.
here's mine, i'm not done yet. it's filled with words that resonated with me - many in danish, because those are the newspapers that i have at hand. i've given those words first a wash of sepia, followed by a a wash of watered down paynes grey ink, as i don't want to completely cover them. tho' i do intend to cover them to an extent with small paintings and drawings of places and memories that are important to me. but mine isn't art either, but it is a personal expression of me. words are important to me. as is expressing myself. right now, it's darker and more foreboding than i actually feel, which is interesting, but doesn't reflect the hazy vision of it that resides in my head. and that's a big part of the process too.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
...does it make a sound?
a big storm blew through late yesterday afternoon. high winds and driving rain accompanied it. there were branches down on the road here and there and we decided to check our forest today. to our surprise, there was a wide swath of downed trees. i tried to count, but stopped at 35. there are probably at least 50 and it's a clear path, like a tornado went through, even tho' otherwise conditions weren't as we know them for tornadoes in the midwest of the US (instead of hot and humid, it was rather chilly and no lightning and thunder seemed to accompany the storm).
what i wonder is how we didn't hear all those trees crashing down, even tho' we're a kilometer or so away from our forest. it must have made quite a racket.
Friday, June 14, 2013
the weather's been meh the past few days, so, the front entry, which i turned into a makeshift greenhouse now also has comfy chairs as well so we can have our friday cocktails.
happy weekend, one and all.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
i can't believe how quickly this week has flown by. it's nearly friday. it feels both like much has happened and also very little. some weeks are like that. normally, i use this space to sort it all out, but at the moment, it seems to all be stuck in my head, so i'm going to bed. a good night's sleep cures anything, right?