Fun with stencils!
A few more paintings and a drawing!
Chalk pastel madness!
Hello fellas and gals in internet land!
1. I took an internship with the Department of Defense that has me on a military base for four months providing daycare/after school youth services for service-members…in Key West, FL! They offered me a position over the summer in Bamberg, Germany so I will be trying to add a fourth language to my linguistic arsenal over the next few months.
2. Today I applied for the credential program at the university near my home in California, which I would begin in the fall as a first step toward becoming an official (rather than substitute) teacher. I have wanted to teach since I was nine years old but both of my parents spent a lot of time trying to convince me that it was beneath me/not prestigious/not a path to a swimming pool full of money. Mom wanted doctor or lawyer, dad pushed for engineer. Nearly two decades later the fact remains that, much like Albus Dumbledore found, my greatest pleasure lies in teaching. Also as in the case of Albus Dumbledore, pursuing a career in teaching does not mean an end to my other creative/intellectual pursuits. I am really excited, and already planning curriculum in my head.
3. My sister had demanded a cover for the novel she wrote, and I finally finished and delivered it just before I left for Key West. She is quite pleased with it and that pleases me. She is looking into self-publishing.
4. I got to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando (what a mouthful)! It was everything I could have dreamed and more, you guys! The butterbeer, the wands, the awesome rides! I spent way too much on souvenirs.
5. If you are a regular reader, you may remember that I was part of a group show in a gallery back in December. The gallery informed me that I had sold a piece, and then didn’t send my work back to me for almost two months because after the show closed I sold a second piece! Which means that total on my “about” page gets to go up by a hundred buckeroos (the gallery took a fifty percent commission).
I apologize for allowing the blog to languish during this very busy time of packing and flying and working 40+ hours on base every week, but I do have a Mix-Tape Monday and Random Review planned for this week. I am hoping to retcon the weeks that I missed in Mix-Tape Mondays as well, but we will see how this week goes. Thanks for sticking with me, and if you haven’t stuck with me I’d like to say:
Today I had to take a little time out to prepare an artist’s statement and resume for a show I’m a part of in December. It will be at Eureka, CA’s First Street Gallery, the “Giant Squid Exhibition”…we printmakers just love our ink. I had never actually written an artist’s statement before, my university art curriculum was not particularly rigorous, so with a lot of time and a little guidance from fellow artists Megan Moore and Blake McAdow this is what I came up with:
What is the role of nature in an increasingly regimented society? My current work explores the way biological phenomena such as competition, consumption, growth, and renewal manifest on personal and systemic levels within our industrialized nation.
Printmaking is a process which allows me to marry mechanized production with organic formal elements, questioning the way contemporary American society rejects the lack of predictability found in nature in favor of uniform standards of performance. In my serigraphs, I bring nature into a highly uniform, reproducible medium by using hand-cut stencils and painted representation of organic forms such as fibrin and birds. Collagraph is an imprecise process in itself, which produces a more painterly effect and introduces an additional natural element of entropy into the work as plates destroy themselves in the course of printing. The conflict created by using nature as a standardized part is central to my work.
The collagraphs I created in 2012 draw from the natural abundance of my new home: included on the plates used to print them are hundreds of new leaves I collected from local trees and pressed during spring, and the tree forms are from sketches made during my wanderings in Chico. As this agricultural community renewed itself so did my work, introducing new themes and brighter colors than those that characterized my earlier work in Humboldt County.
What do you think? Is it too packed with artist-speak, or does it make you want to see the work I’m referring to? Let me know in the comments.
The difficult thing about being a very analytical person with strong opinions, with enough conviction to share those opinions publicly, is the thing that “nicer” people often don’t understand. I am just as critical of my own work as I am of anyone else’s, more critical actually because I don’t often have to tell other people what I think of my own work. The opinions I post on others’ work publicly are tempered by the knowledge that I am talking about a person with a soft squishy heart who may have poured that heart into their work, and the knowledge that others will read what I write and form opinions on my character based on that sole piece of writing. I am free to beat myself up as hard as I can inside my own mind. Today is one of those days.
Over the summer I made the decision that I definitely want to pursue grad school, specifically to earn an MFA in Printmaking (or broader Studio Art depending on the program). Looking at my work from undergrad and what little I’ve done since, I don’t have much I’d be willing to commit to a CD and send off to represent me to selection committees. Luckily my husband is still finishing his undergrad, and I am not terribly interested in the program at his school, so I anticipate having at least a year before I apply. This gives me a year to get together a portfolio that doesn’t produce anxiety attacks.
Not so easy. Printmaking in general requires a decent amount of equipment. Given my living and financial situations I am limited to screenprinting on the porch and hand-printing woodcuts with a wooden spoon. However, plenty of amazing art has been produced from limited circumstance. Sometimes a lack of equipment and materials equals a push in a new direction.
It can also be hard to remember that a lot of the printmakers I am measuring myself against, in terms of technique and cohesive vision, already have their Master’s degrees (or are in the process of obtaining them). They have had three years to focus intensely on a body of work. Those at Frogman’s are some of the most ambitious in the nation. That may not be a just yardstick for a gal with a B.A. from a school with one room and five presses for printing (only three of which we actually used).
I am having some drastic ideas for my old work, and since I’ve quite honestly got nothing to lose at this point, I think I will get cracking.
From July 1st to 15th this summer, I was halfway across the country in South Dakota. “Why would anyone voluntarily spend that long in South Dakota?”, you might be wondering. If one happens to be a printmaker, it is home to one of the best artist workshops in the country: Frogman’s. Since this blog is allegedly a conduit for my art, and not solely devoted to writing and books, I thought I’d share a little bit of what I worked on while I was there.
My first week’s workshop was Screenprint with Melissa Harshman. Melissa is a professor at the University of Georgia at Athens, one of the graduate schools I am interested in. I had never screened before, so I threw myself into it with gusto and tried to make as much as possible during the week. I wanted to make as many mistakes as possible while I had someone there to correct me. I’d call the effort a success.
Melissa was a great teacher, very attentive, and I really enjoy her work. She cemented my resolve to check out/apply to UGA when the time comes.
My second week at Frogman’s was spent learning everything there is to know about collagraph from artist Tracy Otten, an old friend of my undergrad professor. She is a faculty-member at the University of Minnesota Morris and a cool chick in general. The amount of knowledge she had to share regarding different materials and processes for collagraph was nigh-endless. For the unfamiliar, a collagraph is basically a collage made of whatever which is then sealed, has ink rubbed into the surface and then wiped from the high points, and is printed onto wet paper under high pressure (to pull the ink onto the paper via capillary action).
In addition to classes, each day we had artist talks from two of the lecturers. In the evenings we often had activities like a gallery walk or an opening, sometimes less art-related fare like karaoke or bowling (with costumes). All in all a fabulous time at what amounts to art camp for adults. I learned a ton and am already planning what to take next summer! The collagraphs are currently flattening under some heavy books (had to roll them for the plane), and when they are ready I will trim them and the screenprints, along with doing some touch-up and adding hand-color. I’ll leave you with a piece of work that is already finished.