Flowers!

January 20, 2007

 Flowers

OK!  Some new photos of essentials I forgot to post previously, more explanations and some answers to various questions. 

Paper First, how could I not document paper?!  Right now I have quite a lot of it… Ideally, I would like smaller rolls (as in less yardage, but wider) of more different types of paper so I could have a lot of different weights and transparencies.  However, paper is expensive and it’s particularly hard to find specific weights and transparencies that are made of recycled papers.  When it comes to materials, it’s a balance between what my budget will allow (1000 doesn’t get you very far—I’m already almost half way through it), what I have time for (heavier weight papers mean I can only cut one sheet at a time and I only have a month), and what it is that I really want.  Often I have to pare my ideas down to the most essential elements to make sure those get the attention and monetary support that they need.  This means, most of my paper is cheap recycled craft paper.  Not much weight or translucency variation.  I have one super wide roll of translucent vellum, bought off an illustration student that was trying to get rid of it, and one roll of a heavier weight grey backed paper.  If I have time and money towards the end of this project, perhaps I’ll invest in some different types, but most likely I’ll have to compromise and stick with what I’ve got.  I think I’ll also drag in every sheet of paper I have at home and cut all of that up. 
Grey backed paper you say?  The question of color, which is one of the first questions Xander asked at my interview, has come up multiple times.  In order to stick with the stark white of the traditional gallery space, everything is going to be white.  However, I have no idea how quickly or slowly the paper will deteriorate.  It’s quite possible that the place will be in shambles after the first month (or first week!) and just look terrible for the rest of the installation.  Since it will be up for three months, that’s a lot of time to have an ugly installation and that’s not in the museum’s best interest, or mine really.  So in order to allow it to decay while maintaining some control over how quickly it falls apart, I’ve agreed to re-install elements if it becomes necessary and as often as it seems necessary.  Each time I have to install a new set of plants and flowers it will be colored in some way to indicate the change.  Visitors will be able to track its progress; the color will mark the cycles of elements falling apart and “growing” back.  I picked up the grey backed paper from the recycling center thinking that might be an interesting way to start introducing color.  Since it’s white on one side and grey on the other, it could be a nice transition.  I’ll have to experiment with some before deciding whether or not I really want to use it, but since I got it at the recycling center, it was dirt cheap and I can always take it back to them if I decide not to use it.

Paper Tools Next most popular question:  are you really cutting it all by hand?  Why not have it laser cut?  Yes, I’m cutting it all by hand, because I’m just that crazy.  I want the variation that happens when everything is hand cut.  Even if I use the exact same pattern, at the exact same scale, or cut it at the same time (by layering sheets), each sheet will always be completely unique, kind of like the way things happen in nature.  No two plants or flowers—even of the same species—will ever be exactly the same.  Also, I’m planning on cutting a ton of different patterns and in order to use a laser cutter I would have to draw each pattern on the computer as a vector image.  To get the number of different patterns I want, this would take just as long, if not longer, than free hand cutting and drawing with the help of the projector.  Sure, for each vector image I could have 100 sheets of paper cut instantly, but then I’d lack the tiny variations that happen with the knife as well as the wide range of plant patterns that I’m going for.  (Image is of other essential tools for working with paper—paper clips!  And push pins, and scissors and tape)
What about documentation?  Do you intend to document the change over time since that’s what you claim is most important?  You betcha.  One idea that would be really great is time lapse photography.  Wouldn’t it be sweet if I took a daily photograph from the exact same place over the entire 3 months?  And then turned it into a video clip after the show was over?  Yes, yes it would.  However, that would cost money and I have none.  Instead I’m going to use my budget to invest in some Polaroid film, borrow a friend’s camera and take a weekly photograph from the exact same spot.  Since Polaroids give you an instant print, I’ll set up a series of glass picture frames on the wall just outside the room and add the weekly picture as I take it.  This way, visitors who can only come once will be able to see what it used to look like and perhaps imagine what the next Polaroid will reveal.

Flower Nodes
Last bit of explanation for this post—the flowers.  Everything you’ve seen so far has just been plant forms.  The flowers are actually separate objects and those are what I’ve been concentrating on over the last couple days.  All the plant patterns are designed with little nodes—basically they look like flower buds (you can see some before flowers have been added in the top half of the photo).  Each flower pattern has a small hole cut in the very center.  This hole is so that a node (which is larger than the diameter of the circle) can be pushed into the hole and just the shape alone is enough to hold the flower in place.  Since it’s only this really simple mechanical connection (just like slotting or tabbing) holding the flowers in place, it’ll be really easy for visitors to come and pull flowers off without tearing down an entire curtain.  And if they rip off a stem or a leaf, that’s ok too! 
Flowers1 Flowers2 Tomorrow I’m hosting my first pizza and paper party, meaning I’m paying some friends with pizza for sweatshop labor.  Since it would be a little too crazy to have everyone cutting 10’ sheets of paper, I’m going to start by just having people cut flowers for me and see how that goes.  I spent the last couple days working out flower patterns so that I can just hand them to people when they walk in the door and have them cut out as many as they can in the couple of hours that we all hang out.  All of these photos are of various flower experiments—most of which were inspired by Japanese family crests, wallpapers, or other graphic flower forms.  This means that they’re not very three dimensional, but for right now that’s ok.  None of my patterns are at all three dimensional until gravity or the natural curling of the paper takes affect.  Perhaps I’ll experiment with using some tabbing or slotting techniques to make more three dimensional flowers, but that will only happen if time allows.
Sustenance And finally, a few pictures of essentials I forgot to show earlier!  I have the most ridiculous stash of food and beverages in my studio right now.  I could easily live there for 2 weeks just off of caffeine, MSG, and fruit.  I even have a water boiler for perfect coffee with the help of a French press, and a microwave in the wood shop (Sustenance Tools).  What else could I possibly need?! Perhaps a mini-fridge for some ice cream and beer…

Sitings Proposal

January 15, 2007

So since I’m still working on getting this blog up and going, I thought I’d take the easy route and just start out by posting exactly what my proposal for this project is.  Firstly, Sitings is an installtion competition that the RISD Museum does every year open to any current student at RISD.  It’s kind of a big deal simply because the museum NEVER shows student work under any circumstances.  There is an anual show of grad student theses at the end of every year, and various faculty and staff shows (even those are only on a biennial basis), but never a context where undergraduate student work is shown, not even for a day.  Perhaps to make up for this, they offer an annual competition where students can propose an installation in one of the museum’s many non-gallery spaces to “celebrate and exploit the architectural idiosyncracies of the Museum’s four-building complex,” as the museum itself likes to describe it.  Anyways, I’d never actually submitted a proposal before, but thinking that it was an amazing opportunity and my last chance to take advantage of such opportunities, I thought, what the heck, why not try!  I spent a week doing nothing but putting the proposal together (lost lots of sleep, skipped a day of class) and several weeks later found out I was one of six finalists!  This meant I got to have a one-on-one interview with the juror, Xander Marro, an artist who lives and works here in Providence, to defend my proposal and try and convince her to pick me.  In the end, I was one of two people chosen to have my work installed in the museum and I am so completely psyched about it, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown the day she called to tell me I’d won!  I have a 1000 dollar budget thanks to the museum, plus a 300 dollar prize once the thing is actually installed and a month and a half to build everything.  I have two working days to install everything (February 20 and 21) with help from the museum’s installation staff, then the show technically opens on the 23rd.  There will be a big opening reception/party on March 2nd and then the show will be up for 3 months, until June 3rd!  After June 3rd, I have a day to take it all down (basically the day after graduation) and that’s that.  So exciting!  If I actually think about it, I’m still in shock that my work is going to be in the museum for 3 months… unbelievable…

So, while I’m still getting everything organized, here’s a copy of my proposal to give you some idea of what this installation is about.  There are a lot of things that have changed already, or aren’t in the proposal that I’ll post in the future, but for now it seems like a pretty good place to start!  Feel free to post questions and I’ll try to answer them in future entries.

Proposal

Also, a link to the museum’s website in case you’re interested.

Hello world!

January 12, 2007

So, first blog ever… Bear with me as I figure out how all of this stuff works.  I’ll get it eventually!  In the meantime, I already have a  couple things to post so I’ll go ahead and do that and perhaps come back and edit them later.  Basically this blog exists so I can share with all of my favorite people (who tend to be scattered around the world) what I’m working on at the moment.  Current projects, thoughts for new projects, etc.   Just a way of keeping people up to date on what I’m up to these days.  Right now the big focus is my Sitings project for the RISD Musuem.  I will be installing my project in the museum on February 20th–in the meantime I have TONS of work to do on it!  I’ll explain more about the project itself at a later date, but right now I need feedback/input on my artist bio and statement.  I have to turn these in to the museum ASAP for publication purposes–scary!  Let me know what you think… I have a few days to edit and change things:

Bio and Artist Statement

So, the length for both of these is about what it needs to be–meaning I don’t have much wiggle room, but any thoughts?  I know its kind of hard to comment if you don’t know more about the project, but any thoughts would be helpful!  And titles?  Mine are all really cheesy… I’ve never been good at titling my work…

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