Monday, July 22, 2013

The Universe for Dad

Here is a short renegade project about an enormous topic...

Dad's death has given me a sense of freedom and I feel guilty for saying that - as if I mean I'm glad that he's dead, which I am not.  I wish very much that he wasn't dead.  I wish I could watch him laugh, I wish I could hear him tell one of his wild stories, I wish I could pull up to his house and see him waiting outside for me.  Unfortunately, I'll have to dig into my memory bank when I wish for those things because I'll never live the experiences as new again.

But I love him more and differently because living through the experience of him leaving is a gift that has let me see the world in a different way.  I want to make work in a different way.  This desire is so strong that it makes me feel almost sick, almost poisoned, like it's too big for my body to contain and I have to tell myself that I don't have to act on it all at once, that realizing it and living it and dreaming of it is just as important and lovely as creating it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Truckin' Along

My version of the Universe 
in an instant coffee jar.

Dinosaur Valley State Park and 
Passenger Pigeon paintings are finito.

 Dinosaur Valley State Park, oil, 32"x48", 2013

Passenger Pigeon, oil, 32"x48", 2013

Completing Bingham Canyon Mine 
is next on the agenda.

And then I shall let the new experience of working at the Zoo drive the work.  I had an experience yesterday that inspired some note-taking:  When witnessing animals confined in zoos, parks, etc., why do different species evoke different emotions?  

For me, a visit to the reptile building is a peaceful and pleasant experience.  The Indochinese Serrated Turtle is hands down my favorite, he puts a smile on my face and fills my heart big with joy.  

Visiting the primate building, on the other hand, makes my stomach drop like when you see a wreck on the highway.  There is one male Silverback Gorilla in particular that reminds me of looking into a mirror on my saddest day.  

Turtle vs. Gorilla - I get it, we relate to the primate and believe we understand his feelings.  But what about the turtle?  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mental. Pressure. Cooker.

The studio is now a total and complete sweat shop of never-before-tried experiments mixed along with the standard paintings and photographs.  Throw in the anticipation of learning the verdict of six artist residency applications and the embarkment of a new full-time job that will require more hours and responsibility (along with my part-time job) and the lack of desire to execute any of the above and you have one overwhelmed lady. Here is a studio tour of the started but unfinished work....

The dang Universe.
So in reaction to my dad's passing, I've understandably been obsessed with life and death and the universe - you know, existence as a whole.  No big deal.  Except that it is a big deal and it's totally exhausting.  How do I visually articulate the most monumental subject ever?  Well with a small-scale sculpture made from maps, beads, wire, wood, and a coffee jar that's how.  Next step to this project is making the map mountain taller.

Hollywood Texas-style.
A few years ago my friend Lani (hi pal!) and I made some pretty badass stop motion films. I want to make more.  Like immediately. So I bought a set and cast which was the easy part, now all I have to do is make the film.  And.....ACTION!

Testing, testing, 1-2-3...
"Hey!", I said to myself, "Why don't you get a digital voice recorder and record the writing you've done over the past few years?"  "Then manipulate it, organize it, or use it as an element in a piece of art?"

(left) Bingham Canyon Mine (right) Passenger Pigeon 
But...don't forget that you've got these two paintings to finish and they will stare at you all day everyday until they are completed.

And your heart still wants to photograph spaces where the outdoors meets the indoors! Oh yeah...and document everything and write about it on your blog.  

 Bottom floor of my apartment building.


My current patio science project.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Extinction & Destruction

Here is the latest batch of paintings in-progress.  I want to address extinction and destruction.  What I'm captivated by is how breathtaking I find the reference imagery at a completely superficial level but how disturbing I find their historical existences.

Bingham Canyon Mine
Utah's Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as Kennecott Copper Mine, is the largest man made excavation in the world.  The.  World.  It is over .6 miles deep and 2.5 miles wide, covering 1,900 acres.  It's been in production since 1906.  Hmmm...that's 107 years carnage to the ole earth's skin.

The shear magnitude of  destruction is heart-stopping, but from a bird's eye view the image of the mine is beautiful.  What an interesting conflict of emotions.

(My buddy Megs took this photo and was kind enough to let me use it for reference.  Thanks Megs!)

Passenger Pigeon
When I took this photo almost a year ago I never would have realized it's immense contribution in the inspiration department.  I mean, it was a big deal when I was living it - I was holding a dang passenger pigeon after all - but looking back on it I now realize how special that moment really was.

I became aware of environment in a big way on this trip.  The specimen itself is beyond amazing but I became fascinated with the space in which it exists as well.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
I visited Dinosaur Valley State Park circa April 2013 and walked away with two main points:  Consumerism and Extinction.  That's what the above image represents to me.  But like the Bingham Canyon photo, this image also raises battling feelings.

My gut reaction when I saw the basket of plastic dinosaurs was childish glee.  The bright colors shaped like near-unbelievable-creatures are just small enough for a kid's hand and resemble candy. 

But then I switch to grownup mode knowing that this one small delicious basket isn't the only one in existence.  In fact, I'm sure truckload after truckload of these same dinosaur toys ramble down the road filling every science museum gift shop from Seattle to Savannah.