Ready for Thesis…

Ready for Thesis.

Ready for Thesis?

Both the same set of words, yet one obviously a statement and the latter a question.  Currently I am at the second and working towards the bold, strong, statement that is the first.

My show, Blue: A love affair is finally up and nearly ready to go.  The photographs are all pretty much set where they are with a few tweaks to be presented here and there.  I painted an entire wall blue, which wasn’t as daunting as one might think and it came out surprisingly a beautiful, solid, fresh navy blue.

The show will be up all this week, until Saturday with a closing reception happening at 6:30pm on Friday in Byers gallery.  If you’re around, come check it out and say hello.


 

Now it’s time to start really working into my thesis.  I’ve been planning to use appropriated imagery and reprinting them through alternative photo processes like salt printing or Van Dyke printing to create a new composition, so the work I recently completed for Blue, technically was very helpful in getting me ready to work in those processes.   Content wise I am still struggling as far as where exactly I will go.  I know I’d like to discuss my family and fabricated memories built through photographs, but just how I will do that is still up in the air.

I grew up in a great home in a wonderful region of the Pocono Mountains of North East Pennsylvania.  I spent a lot of time outdoors with my sister and brother, played sports, had a ton of friends, and great parents that supported me in academics, arts, and after school sports.  There are moments in my childhood, however, that things were not so picture perfect.  Moments that are lost and unrepresented in the photographs that fill the family albums in my parents home.  I wonder what role photography can play in exploring these lost memories and how they have effected me emotionally.  My relationship with my Dad has always been a rocky one.  Two strong Type A personalities with a ton of things to say just generally don’t get along super well and as I got older I got less and less patient with my father and more eager to argue back with him when the opportunity arose.  (Very typical teenager of me you’d say, but the arguing definitely stemmed from things that are rooted much deeper).  Despite this, my Dad is an amazing man.  A hard worker, who has sacrificed immensely for my family and in ways that I will never be able to repay him for, but in his efforts to provide he also became absent.  I’ve always been proud to say my dad is a fire fighter- a hero to me and my siblings and even to strangers, but the long shifts and far commute didn’t always make a ton of time for being at home with family.

As an artist and in general, I have never really taken the time to think about all of these dynamics that have been created within my family and the way they have effected me.  And as stated previously, I have never been one to make highly emotional or personal work, but grad school is all about change and challenging yourself right?  So here are some of the questions I am asking myself and ideas I am trying to work through as I navigate through my own personal narrative in efforts to create new work.


 

What does it mean for someone to be physically present in life but also absent emotionally?

How can I express my own perspective on my childhood without being insensitive to my family?

My dad being a fire fighter has always been something I am extremely proud of, but it also kept him away from getting to know me and my siblings better, how has that changed or challenged me growing up? How can that be brought forward in a visual and physical object?

How does having such a similar personality to my Dad effect me?  What does it mean to me to be so much like him?

What do I want to portray or say about my childhood?

What memories do I want to explore? How can I explore them without be exploitative?

 

….

 

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Floods

Saturday started off really great.  I had a rugby game in Cincinnati (our biggest of the season and we won 10-0).  For those that don’t know rugby, a 10-0 score in an 80 minute game is pretty low scoring and can attest to the physicality and competition on both sides.  Anyway, post win, I was set on hitting the studio, printing some cyanotypes and really catching up on work that I need to make for this show I have coming up on October 16th.  A productive and well spent Saturday.

Things started off really well- the arc lamp was cooperating, I got some test strips exposed and was moving right along into the real prints.  I rinsed my test strips, took them out of the tray to dry, and left the hose of the sink on what I thought was low enough pressure so that it could continue to fill the tray I was using for when my prints needed to be rinsed.  I left the back coating room to go print some transparencies that would be needed for further printing.  (I really thought I was killing it here, multitasking and getting a ton of work done).  That was a pretty short lived confidence boost.

About 5-8 minutes go by and I go to check the arc lamp only to find that the sink hose has made a jump out of the sink and has been spraying water all over the floor for the entire time I have been away.  About a 1/2 inch of water flooded the space into the darkroom hallway and what was even more concerning was that it had flooded it’s way also into the arc lamp room, where the entire power unit for the arc lamp rests about 2 inches above floor level with all of its wiring nicely placed, you guess it, on the floor.

Luckily I was able to turn the arc lamp off, safely get all of the wires out of the way but I then spent about an hour or so mopping up the water because unfortunately there was no maintenance staff that could come help me at 9:00pm on Campus.  What a nightmare.

I have since returned to the darkroom this evening and gotten right back into printing.  The water is dry- no more floods, thank God and I will no longer be leaving sinks running at any point in time.


 

Overall I have some pretty mixed feelings about the upcoming show.  Not necessarily related to the content, but more in relation to the space and the size of the photographs presented.  My show will be in the Byers Gallery on CCAD’s campus.  I requested this space because it’s one of the smaller spaces on campus but as I approach the upcoming deadline I am concerned I will not have enough work to fill the walls.  Not to mention my sister is getting married this Friday, so I will be away from Columbus starting Wednesday and not returning until the day before my install (Sunday).  (A joyous occasion that I am very much looking forward to but just unfortunate timing).  As I sit here and think about the time I plan to spend printing over the course of the next two days and all the prep work going into planning for the install I hope I can make it all come together to look professional and complete.  Hoping God will bless me with some real time to focus, work, and figure out the best format for the display of all the work- although I know He will.  I’m also hoping to be able to get into the gallery space tomorrow and Tuesday evening to start planning some of the work’s layout given it is patched and ready from the previous artwork that was installed.

Cheers to year 2 right?

Blue: A love affair

I’ve never been the kind of artist that uses art as a means to express personal emotion.  For years I photographed the female form because I was interested in the aesthetic of the abstraction of the body and creating interesting compositions through a photographic lens, but since I have been in graduate school it seems the content of my work has gone from aesthetic, formal observations, to emotional, personal content.

For 2+ years I dated a man who I thought I might ultimately share a future life with.  We met in undergrad and developed a friendship, but there always seemed to be a little bit more there.  We were awkward and avoided the potential feelings we might have and instead spent time dating other people, until eventually in the Spring of 2014 we decided to give in and figure out what this weird thing was between us.  I always used to say I feel like I loved him since the day I met him, it just took me a while to come around to it, and I still believe that’s true.  I drunkly told him after a month of dating that I was falling in love with him- something I still am embarrassed about to this day.  Our time spent together in a small rural PA town while we both finished school was nothing short of amazing.  We both played rugby, we were both hard working students, christians; our relationship was what some would call picture perfect.

Unfortunately, however, as we got more serious, so did the potential for our future, or lack there of.  He was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and come graduation he would have to make the decision as to whether he would find a job in the states and stay, pursue a masters here, or head home and study there instead.  The latter occurred and was something I feared for a very long time. In August of 2016 as I began my first year of graduate school here in Columbus, OH, he left and returned to South Africa without a set timeline or plan to return to the states. We did what we could, but ultimately our relationship ended in November.  Being an ocean away, with 6-7 hour time difference, and no real guarantee of when you may see each other next is as you can imagine, emotionally daunting.

Blue; a love affair is a body of work that is comprised of photographs I took in December of 2014 while I visited my boyfriend at the time and his family in South Africa.  The photographs are accompanied by a small book containing a written narrative that explains a personal association created between the color blue, South Africa, this man, and his family.  The photographs are printed as Cyanotypes to also reflect the content of the book and the color association.  The combination of written narrative and personal photographs aim to explore and explain memory and the pain or emotion that comes with a love once lost. unnamed

Tests tests tests

I almost burned my apartment down trying to burn holes in these test samples… Note to self, 1. Don’t burn paper inside. 2.  Don’t burn said paper when surrounded by a large pile of more paper in the event that it may catch fire in your hand and panic ensue.

*don’t worry everything is fine. 🙂

 

 

After a great studio visit with Julie Abijanac last week, I have decided to set a goal of making around 30 test samples for my critique next week.  A lofty goal it may be, but if I can get at least to 20 I will be happy.  Here are a few paper samples in the process of being made.  Each sample is laid out with different additions of color, design, or manipulation and then they are wet down and agitated to form one solid sheet.  These sheets are complete and I plan to sensitize them today in order to print some test photographs on them!  The goal of these tests is to see how the colors work together and then also how they affect the photography process- to see how certain images look on certain styles of manipulated mulberry paper and things like that!

As Ric Petty would say, my belt is buckled and I’ve just about hit the top of the roller coaster, slowly I am coming around the corner, just about to descend the big drop… Here goes nothing.

 

 

Cheers to year 2!

I swear I didn’t take the entire summer off.. it’s just been a bit hectic and unfortunately my blog took a bit of a back seat!  I completed a guest blog post for a wonderful female artist duo The Honeybees , so take a look on The Hive for a little taste of my summer and experiences of juggling the real world and art making.

Anyway, school is officially back in session and I am extremely glad it is.  Despite my schedule continuing to be a bit chaotic (as it always is) I am excited to get back into my studio, continue making, and put together some work for my thesis which is just a short 7-8 months away.  Over the summer I spent some time exploring a new paper making technique called Joomchi.  I attended the Quilting Surface Design Symposium in early June and learned under Jiyoung Chung.  She is an incredible artist, maker, and master of Joomchi techniques.  For those that have been following my blog a bit you know I have been interested in making paper since my start at CCAD.  My interest in this stems from wanting to print photographs on substrates different than traditional photographic papers, however, with handmade paper it can be quite difficult to send through water and traditional/alternative dark room processes.  The water can unbind the fibers causing it to fall apart.  With joomchi- the opposite occurs.  Water is used within the agitation process to bind the fibers together so sending it through more wet processes essentially just makes it stronger!  I am excited to continue to explore this process and see what it holds for my photographs.

In addition I have not forgotten about the crochet!  The past few weeks I have been testing my pattern making skills and challenging myself to create multiple small granny squares that serve as “swatches.”

I’ve also been printing cyanotype photographs for a series I am working on and hoping to have completed for a small solo exhibition.  Stay tuned for more everyone!

Until then, I am waiting for life to slow down, but hoping it never does.

A recap of Spring 2017- better late than never

Phew… well it has been a while since I’ve posted.  Each time I have stopped into the studio I have reminded myself to get on here and post my end of semester work with an update and yet somehow it always manages to get tossed aside.  So, alas! All those that have been anxiously waiting, (no one), here it is!

 

 

I finished the semester with 4 finished pieces.  There are some questions remaining, things that could be further pushed and/or explored but overall I am happy with the result and was confident in what I had produced.  Just a month or so before the end of the semester I was having a total mental breakdown thinking I would have nothing to produce, so although 4 pieces may not seem like much- they felt like quite an accomplishment to me.   Below are images of the works before they were installed in the Beeler Lobby for the 2017 CHROMA exhibit.  If you live locally in Columbus I encourage you to stop by and check them out.  I won’t say much as I could really write forever about the struggles that I had throughout this semester and the resulting works, but instead I will leave you with my artist statement a brief description of the process and materials along with photos of the works allowing them all to work together and speak for each other.

Materials/Process:

A series of 4 crocheted photographs printed on silk and cotton fabrics, cut up and created into a yarn like structure, then finger crocheted.

Statement:

Over the past year I have watched my twin sister transition from college graduate to full time teacher, fiancé, and mom to two pets. She shares a home with her partner and they plan to be married in October of this coming year. Within this home structure she fulfills a very typical housewife role completing all the traditional domestic chores while her future husband tends to the “outside work.” I have observed her frustrations and stresses as she struggles to fulfill the role of “housewife” on top of her daily regime and very much have been frustrated by these expectations that have been set for her.

Using a camera to document this personal history as well as a collective of couples around the Midwest these photographs depict domestic interiors cut up, crocheted, and restructured creating a new image entirely. The crocheting process serves as a means to bring power to women’s craftwork while reconstructing and reconfiguring the domestic space offering redefinition of roles, ideas, and expectations within that setting.

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Keep grinding

Welp, my final critique with a small group of faculty is a short 10 days away.  I am anxious as I have a lot of work to do, but also keen to get the critique finished so that I can then focus on really preparing my work for final install for CHROMA.

I am currently TAing a photography course, Material Studies, and we were just recently introduced to a very interesting alternative photo process called Mordant printing.  Essentially a photo sensitive liquid is made from a mixture of Potassium Dichromate and water.  The liquid is applied to fabric, dried, and then a large negative is sandwiched between the fabric and a piece of glass and exposed to UV light.  This produces the image directly on fabric.  The image is then rinsed and the final process involves hand dying fabric using natural dyes- synthetic dyes do not work for this process.

Since I have been using the textiles printer a lot to print images directly on fabric- this method provides an alternative avenue and also incorporates an interesting piece of domestic work that I think could be a very interesting process piece for my work.  Let me explain…

 

Lately I have been using my images from the textile printer and finger crocheting them into large crocheted photographs.  The images themselves aren’t totally recognizable, however, I am interested in the idea of breaking down the domestic space through ripping and cutting of the image, and then reconstructing it through the crochet process. This is fairly simple but makes slight reference to a domesticated craft or work process through crochet that I find relevant.  With the Mordant printing I can take it even a step further.  By printing images on fabric through this alternative process there is hand washing of the fabric involved- similar to when I use the textile printer, but then the last step- hand dyeing- is where I believe my process can really also speak to the content of the work.  In order to use a natural dye, I can buy them online, OR I can take actual existing objects and “cook” them in order to prepare the natural dye.  For example, onions skins are great for fabric dyeing, avocado pits, flowers, carrot tops, leaves, insects, roots, etc.  In order to create the dye the aforementioned objects need to be heated to a certain temperature and “cooked,” in which then the liquid produced will be used as a dye bath.  The idea of having to complete the domestic task of “cooking” in order to produce the work creates a compelling layer in relation to my interests of woman’s work and domesticity.

I have some concrete ideas that I am going to pursue this week and really hit the ground running.  I almost feel hesitant to make something that I want to without having run the idea by someone yet- which is odd, because as an artist I have always made things on my own but I think a little part of grad school has embellished some sort of need for approval into my thinking- but not today!  (And no one at CCAD has ever said to me that I need their approval to make something, to be clear).  I am excited to really grind things out and get the week going!

Stay Tuned!