Unemployed!

March 13, 2009

So my first full week of unemployment has been crraaazzyy!   First of all, I’m not actually unemployed.  The day after my last day as a designer I started training at a local bakery, thank god not as a baker because I would ruin it, but as a front store, pastry selling, barista, sandwich making, etc. person.  I had 3 training shifts, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and my first full official shift today!  Inbetween those I’ve been running errands, making various doctors appointments before my insurance runs out, trying to get a bit done in studio, and getting really really sick.  In fact, my first day with NOTHING on the calendar, when I was supposed to get sooooo much work done in studio, some sort of flu-like illness swept in and completely knocked me out.  So that’s been lame.  But there have been lots of other insane stories like the most ridiculous bus/crazy bag lady/public transportation story EVER (maybe one of these days when I have nothing else to post I’ll write about it–I wish I had taken some photos to back me up because it’s too good to be true) AND my apartment building caught on fire!  In fact, the trucks and crowds are gathered outside right now.  Any normal person might take all this as a sign that maybe they shouldn’t have made this rash decision to ditch design in favor of art-making, but instead I’m blissfully posting photos from the de-installation as the fire trucks battle the flames next door, with tissues stuck up my nose to stem the endless flow…

An overview half way through de-installing aka. sorting out the mess...

An overview half way through de-installing aka. sorting out the mess...

I was amazed at how much people had re-arranged things on their own...

I was amazed at how much people had re-arranged things on their own...

I liked these shadows that were left...

I liked these shadows that were left...

A different kind of shadow--left from brushing aside unsalvageable shards to find the nice big pieces that were left

A different kind of shadow--left from brushing aside unsalvageable shards to find the nice big pieces that were left

Boxing up the last of it...

Boxing up the last of it...

What now you ask?  Well… I still don’t really know.  Basically every page was broken.  I was pleasantly amazed to find a few complete sheets–sometimes even super thin ones–at the bottom of some of the stacks.  The weight must have been balanced exactly right, and the stars aligned when I set those down, for them to have survived 6 weeks with 100 other ceramic pages on top.  It’s possible there will be future showings of the piece, each one more degraded, broken and with more missing information than the last.  I feel a little weird about showing it anywhere other than the Arsenal, but maybe if the actual information is unintelligible anyways, it doesn’t matter?  I’m not sure, I haven’t really decided yet… In any event, they did have a mini show at the ceramics studio immediately following the de-installation.  So next time I post something, I’ll include some photos of that.  And maybe a crazy bus lady story or two…

The Show

January 14, 2009

The "staircase" display when you first walk in the door.

The "staircase" display when you first walk in the door.

 I finally managed to find some time to drop by the Arsenal and take some photos of the completed piece so here they are!  I also received this link to a flickr page that RISD is maintaining for the show.  It has images of all the work in the show (in case you can’t come see it in person) and will supposedly be updated with photos from the opening at some point.  Of course these photos are not even vaguely equivalent to seeing the work in person, but it’s a good start.  And lastly, I’ve started my own YouTube Channel.  Originally I opened it just to post the one video in the previous post, but now that it’s there I might as well put other things on it!  There’s only one additional video right now, but I hope to post a couple more of both this piece and the Paper Jungle.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Installation Photos!

The final layout of stacks and piles
The final layout of stacks and piles
Broken Tiles Pile
Broken Tiles Pile
Single Broken Sheet
Single Broken Sheet
You can even see all the dirt on the fabric/tiles from people going up and down the stairs
You can even see all the dirt on the fabric/tiles from people going up and down the stairs
Post-Processualism = Archaeological Theory related to Post-Modernism
Post-Processualism = Archaeological Theory related to Post-Modernism
View from the 2nd Floor, looking down
View from the 2nd Floor, looking down
A couple of the framed pieces, scattered throughout the gallery
A couple of the framed pieces, scattered throughout the gallery
One of my favorites
One of my favorites
Some of the frames in context
Some of the frames in context
They are purposefully scattered in forgotten places
They are purposefully scattered in forgotten places
Oftentimes the forgotten spaces are unlit, making photographing the pieces quite difficult
Oftentimes the forgotten spaces are unlit, making photographing the pieces quite difficult

Frames, Part 2

January 4, 2009

As promised, here’s more framing documentation.  There was a series of really fantastic oil paintings of scary clowns that looked like someone took them very seriously when they painted them, but they didn’t have glass in them so sadly I left them at the thrift store… next time, I’m coming back for you scary clowns.

From Blacksburg, VA titled "Dover Castle" and dated '89

From Blacksburg, VA titled "Dover Castle" and dated '89

From a "Cheap Chic" store in Allston, MA

From a "Cheap Chic" store in Allston, MA

From Kohl's, still with its expensive price-tag ($40!)

From Kohl's, still with its expensive price-tag ($40!)

Boy with bucket of puppies

Boy with bucket of puppies--there's something kind of sinister about this one...

Unopened Cherry Cola

Unopened Cherry Cola

Not sure what this is... photo of a metal elephant/god statue?

Not sure what this is... photo of a metal elephant/god statue?

Whale tale--I opened this one up to find it's actually an image from a calendar!  Someone loved their calendar enough to frame it...!

Whale tale--I opened this one up to find it's actually an image from a calendar! Someone loved their calendar enough to frame it...!

A hand-painted beauty from Blacksburg, VA.  Frame is falling apart in a really bad way but I'm sure I can still use some part of it

A hand-painted beauty from Blacksburg, VA. Frame is falling apart in a really bad way but I'm sure I can still use some part of it

A Winslow Homer print from the Met--looks pretty ancient...  also found in Blacksburg

A Winslow Homer print from the Met--looks pretty ancient... also found in Blacksburg

I think that’s all for now.  I loaded and fired my last kiln today–scary!  But good too.  It’ll be nice to stay out of studio for a while in order to concentrate on printing everything.  Hand rolling the tiles might not take a lot longer than using the slab roller, but it is exhausting!  I’ve been pretty incapable of getting much else done so hopefully from now on, finishing the rest will be much easier.  Of course, I’m technically supposed to start installing tomorrow… but that’s not happening so no use worrying about it!  I meet Dina and Dan at the space on Tuesday night to finalize the layout of everything so I will begin installing after that meeting.  If I just spend a couple hours installing each night after work, I should be fine with having it all ready by Thurs/Friday–worse comes to worse, I’ll take a day off work to wrap everything up.

Also, if anyone is especially inspired by these prints and paintings, let me know!  For now they are in my living room, but soon they will have to go somewhere… most likely the trash…

Tomorrow’s entry will be focused on the printing process.

Frames!

January 2, 2009

So a big part of the “new” version of this project will be wall-mounted.  I was initially very against this idea, but alas, sometimes compromises must be made.  The general idea behind the “new” non-hanging version of this project is to have a large conglomeration of tiles somewhere near the entrance to indicate a critical mass (but not hanging from the ceiling) and then additionally fill the gallery/theater with hand selected wall mounted pieces that people will be able to read and get intimate with.  They will be scattered guerrilla style throughout the gallery in underutilized bits of wall space like around water fountains, elevators, maybe even in bathrooms etc.  The Center for the Arts is filled with useless bits of space, especially walls around access doors to places that are inaccessible–in terms of adaptive reuse architecture, it’s sort of horrifically designed in that sense.  Anyways, the wall mounted pieces are intended to be “special”, beautiful, exquisite tiles with the content relating to its location in the gallery.  For example, a piece over a sink or water fountain might be related to water quality and human health standards of the site prior to or during remediation.  In some ways, I get to act as archaeologist on a whole other level–that of spatial archaeologist, drawing attention to and highlighting all the forgotten spaces in the building.  Unfortunately, I’ve realized that most of my content doesn’t fill this function very well.  It’s not really specific enough to relate to the types of underutilized spaces in the Center for the Arts, but I do think there are particularly relevant and interesting bits of information that will be nice to make use of.  The general idea is that upon entering the gallery, visitors are struck with this critical mass of tiles, and while it may be intriguing on some level, eventually they move on to the next thing as you usually do in a gallery or museum.  As they move through the rest of the building (3 floors in total), they view other pieces and forget about mine until they happen to run into one of these “special” hand selected pieces in an odd spot.  Maybe they engage with it, maybe not, but as they progress through the entire show, they keep popping up, reminding them of their context within the show, within the gallery and within the greater Arsenal and its history.  When they eventually make their way back to the entrance in order to leave the space, they are again confronted with the critical mass, but now it has new meaning.  Now that they’ve seen what some of the content is like, the mass indicates something about the  mass of history, the mass of toxins, the mass of data, etc.  Now you question what other secrets might be buried in that pile of “papers”.

As of right now, I have no idea what that “pile” of papers is actually going to look like.  Neat stacks?  Messy stacks?  Piles?  Spread fairly evenly?  Still in boxes?  Who knows… that might be a decision I make at the last possible second.  But I do know how the wall mounted pieces will work.  I’ve been touring thrift stores, dredging up as many old and used picture frames as I can find in order to convert them into framing elements for the “special” pieces.  The idea is to elevate the wall mounted tiles but still have them somewhat camouflaged with the gallery–they need to be somewhat subtle in order to be subversive, as if they snuck in and settled unannounced–maybe you pass by the first one because it blends in but they keep cropping up so eventually you have to pay attention.  I’m painting all of the frames white (again, playing the archaeologist and digging up these trashed frames and re-contextualizing them) to match the gallery walls and then mounting the tiles directly to the glass so that you actually see some of the “real” gallery wall through the frame in addition to the tile.

Here’s an example:

This seemed like an appropriate frame to explain this process given its content!

This seemed like an appropriate frame to explain this process given its content

Take the frame apart (usually this is easier said than done!) and thoroughly clean the frame and glass

Take the frame apart (usually this is easier said than done!) and thoroughly clean the frame and glass

This one had some ancient vinyl and paint on it so cleanup was a little more extensive than usual

This one had some ancient vinyl and paint on it so cleanup was a little more extensive than usual

And finally repainting and remounting the glass without any backing

And finally repainting and remounting the glass without any backing

It seemed important (and fun!) to document all the frames before I altered them.  I feel like it’s the least I can do since the art that once lived in these frames will most likely be trashed.  Right now it’s all sitting in my living room because I can’t bring myself to throw it away!  They at least deserve some props for giving their lives (some short, some long) to my whimsy so here’s the first batch of frames, pre-paint-job:

This was actually a Target piece so its probably not that old--just a little dinged up and therefore unacceptable to its previous owner

This was actually a Target piece so it's probably not that old--just a little dinged up and therefore unacceptable to its previous owner

Another Target piece, also probably not that old and seemingly undamaged!

Another Target piece, also probably not that old and seemingly undamaged!

There were lots of flowers...

There were lots of flowers...

this pair came from a thrift store in Blacksburg VA, both by the same artist, printed in Sweden, 1980

This pair (and the previous) came from a thrift store in Blacksburg VA, both by the same artist, printed in Sweden, 1980

And of course my favorite, the sleepy cat.

And of course my favorite, the sleepy cat.

To be Continued…

I’ll show the rest tomorrow along with a test tile mount.

And I have heat and hot water again!  Woohoo!

New Statement

December 22, 2008

I forgot!  I meant to post my New Title and Artist Statement last week and kept forgetting about it! 

After speaking with Dan about all the revisions to the installation of my piece (just to dash everyone’s hopes right from the start–I’m not hanging ANYTHING from the ceiling anymore…), I felt the need to re-write my artist’s statement.  I did this for two reasons.  Initially, I wrote it as a proposal just to get into the show, not thinking it would be shared beyond that context (on the form, there was no space for a “proposal” so the only place I could enter it was under “artists statement”).  Apparently some sort of book will be published including all the pieces in the show (hopefully sans photography because the photo I submitted is terrible and not descriptive of the piece itself at all) plus basic information about each artist.  I guess this includes the artist statement we each submitted and seeing as my piece has changed pretty drastically from my original vision (and it was not written as an “artists statement” to begin with), it just doesn’t fit anymore.  Not to mention the fact that I really don’t need my BS proposal writing published for all to see…  So I re-wrote it!  In a brief and even more BS-ish format.  At the recommendation of my favorite contemporary poet, I tried out the renga form, which is an ancient Japanese cooperative form, the first stanza of which eventually became the much shorter haiku.  I liked this idea for a couple of reasons: first, I felt like it allowed me to remain sufficiently vague and abstract, the complete opposite of writing the proposal, second, I liked the concept of it being cooperative.  While I didn’t write it with another person as the form requires, I did steal words and phrases out of my conversation with Dan, so in some ways it was a cooperative poem written with him, he just doesn’t know it yet.  And whether he (or I) likes it, he has had a pretty huge influence on how the piece will show so it seems appropriate.  Other than that, the form is utterly unrelated to the piece itself.  Let’s be honest, it saved me a lot of time…

Also a bit about the title;  Post-Processualism.  Actually, I don’t really feel like explaining it–google or wiki it if you want to know more!  It is an archaeological theory related to post-modernism.  Look it up on your own to find out why it is (or isn’t) appropriate in this context.

Test Pieces

December 18, 2008

So we’ve got the general manufacture of tiles down, the storage and transportation issues…  I would do an entry on firing, except I keep forgetting to take photos anytime I run a kiln so we’ll skip that until I can remember to bust out the camera before turning the kiln on…  The next step is sanding, which has been happening at home recently since the studio was closed for a while.  And after that, photocopy transfer!  I think I’ll use this entry just to show a bunch of test pieces–we’ll get into details of the finishing process later when I have some better photos to share.

My workspace at home

My workspace at home

Some tiles on my table at home, ready for sanding

Some tiles, ready for sanding

Sanding the tiles helps generate a more perfect surface for the image transfer

Sanding the tiles helps generate a more perfect surface for the image transfer

A cover page test-printed on an unfired tile

A cover page test-printed on an unfired tile

I loved this disclaimer page--especially in the context of the additional loss of information when I re-print it again

I loved this disclaimer page--especially in the context of the additional loss of information when I re-print it again

A test print of a map indicating Watertown's location--unfired broken tile

A test print of a map indicating Watertown's location

These tests were applied to very rough tiles when they were still bone dry.  They are far too fragile to handle the pressure required for printing at this stage so later versions are printed after the firing.  There is lots of texture from the slab roller canvas (this was before the silk) and they hadn’t been sanded at all.  This meant the transfer ended up being of very low quality–the dark areas are smoother surfaces, the lighter areas that didn’t print very well are rough areas.  Thus the reason for spending so much time finishing and sanding each individual piece.  I later fired the cover page, which turns the transfer to a rust red color as all the black in the toner burns out and only iron is left behind.  I’ll dig up a photo of this (if I have one!) and post it later on…

Resurrection!

November 20, 2008

So, a little over a year since my last post, I think I am resurrecting this blog!  Initially I began this little bit of self-indulgent internet-ness in order to track the progress of what eventually became the Paper Jungle, an art installation at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (they recently changed their name).  From start to finish, the whole process took nearly a year of brainstorming, writing, interviewing, preparing, creating, building, installing, opening, showing, closing, and de-installing.  This week, I just found out I have been given the opportunity to do it all again!  I spent a good portion of October researching, brainstorming and writing a new proposal for an installation at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA.  The primary motivator was a RISD Alum show to be held there in January, but the more I got into the research of the site, the more I realized I HAD to do an installation there whether or not it was a part of the RISD show.  Before submitting the proposal, I convinced myself that regardless of the RISD curators (Dina Deitsch and Steve Whitten), I would approach the Arsenal on my own if necessary to convince them to let me do the piece on site.  The proposal was due on Halloween so after using Cafe to submit all the materials, I headed out to celebrate Halloween in a My Little Pony costume.

According to Cafe, entrants would be notified two weeks later on November 14th.  All day Friday I anxiously awaited the e-mail–I wanted this project soooo bad!!  Nothing came… and still nothing… maybe they would send something by midnight?  Saturday morning came and went.  By then I assumed that they only contacted those who DID get in, and I must not have since there was still no word.  After spending the whole weekend justifying why I didn’t get in and what my proposal was missing, I called RISD just to confirm that all e-mails had already been sent.  To my surprise, nothing had been sent yet!  The curator had requsted an extra weekend to make final decisions so e-mails would be sent on Tuesday instead.  Lo and behold, I got into the show.

So now begins the process of preparing, creating, building, etc. all over again!  I will again try to write a new post every now and then as the piece progresses, both for those who are afar and interested in keeping track, and as a part of my own process of keeping track of how things evolve and change over time.  To begin with, attached is my Proposal.

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