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.


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.

Things I’ve learned along the way throughout the course of this crazy project (or rather, things I’ve learned so far—cause there’s still installation + 3 months of show time to go…):


Big Leaves Money:

  1. Manage your own budget!  Because you’ll probably be working with people that are too flakey to keep track of anything for you.
  2. The gallery or museum might not actually have a real system setup for the budget they give you—as in, they refuse to give you a real account to work with.  You have to either spend your own money and get reimbursed or drag the poor woman in charge around to the store with you or arrange meetings in her office to place phone and/or online orders.
  3. Avoid spending your own money and having the museum reimburse you if at all possible because you may find yourself broke very quickly without much sign of relief…

Door The ID Department:

  1. I love them!
  2. They love me!
  3. Seriously though, get your department/other supporters to back you.  If it wasn’t for my wonderful department, I’m not sure how all this would’ve worked out.  They’ve hooked me up with a great space, a digital projector, a photographer and money to cover printing costs (or at least they will as soon as I write them a proposal asking for it…) not to mention their genius help with designing the ceiling and feedback on my work in general.
  4. Write proposals!  Don’t be afraid to ask—worst case scenario, they’ll say no and point you in the direction of someone who might say yes.  At least so far, every time I’ve written a proposal asking the department to support me in some way, and I point out all the benefits they get out of the deal, they’ve said yes.

Polaroid The Museum:

  1. Woah is the bureaucracy never ending.  Getting through museum red tape is nearly impossible.
  2. Don’t:  Expect the museum/gallery to do anything for you.  They might if you ask, but probably not.  You’re on your own.
  3. Don’t:  Attempt to print your own postcards/posters, getting through the bureaucracy is not worth it…
  4. Don’t:  Hope that they’ll provide alcohol at your reception.  Even though they have alcohol at every other museum opening, and even though all the student galleries have alcohol at openings, the museum refuses to allow alcohol at STUDENT openings.  Don’t even try.
  5. Don’t:  Attempt to have a rock band at your opening.  Apparently they have “vibration problems” with loud bands…
  6. Don’t:  Have too many pizza and paper parties.  They may start to look like social events, at which point they won’t allow it to fall under your budget costs.
  7. Don’t:  Hope they’ll give you your prize money at the beginning… I guess they need to wait and make sure you actually do the project before they’ll pay you…
  8. Do:  Make friends with Deborah.  For all her flakiness, she’s really sweet and only wants the best for your project.
  9. Do:  Talk to the other winners/people in your show—they might be really cool!  And jointly you can work on a lot of things more efficiently than on your own.
  10. Do:  Self-promote like crazy.  Pretend like your project is amazing, and they just might believe you.

Polaroid 3 Friends:

  1. They’re amazing.
  2. I love them never-endingly.
  3. They have made a huge difference in making this project happen and in making it fun to work on.  What will I do without weekly paper and pizza parties when this project is over?

Polaroid 2 Other:

  1. I’m crazy.
  2. I LOVE meticulous pain-staking never-ending work.
  3. I want to be an artist!  I just want to make things, myself, by hand, forever.  Screw this mass production, industrial design BS.
  4. Watch out for pliers.  When you’re exhausted and pulling wire through a wood frame, they might just hit you in the face when you aren’t looking… hard… There’s blood to prove it.


January 20, 2007


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.


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

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