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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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.

 

 

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!

Cats and Collages 

I am officially a crazy cat lady. Finally we’re back in Columbus after a wedding weekend and some time spent at home to see family. I’m still in an odd place with my work. Not knowing what to make or how to bring it all together. Nonetheless I am trying my best to create something and I am starting with collage. 

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Studio visits galore

On Wednesday I met with my mentor Danielle Julian Norton.  Together we spoke about the direction of my work and brainstormed through some potential ideas I was creating.  I felt a lot better as we spoke and as our meeting concluded.  She really gave me some excellent advice in a way to think about working and art making in general that I hope will help me not only now but further into my career.

 

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting with Curator Amanda Hunt.  Unfortunately I missed her lecture last night because I had work-upon meeting her and seeing how down to earth and awesome she was, I was even more bummed that I wasn’t able to attend.  We had a quick 30 minute discussion and she was able to give me some artists to consider and some advice in regards to where I am thinking with going in my work.

Don’t be too literal in what I am thinking of referencing.

Be aware of the spectrum of experiences that could be applicable-not just my own.

I even briefly spoke with her about what I am thinking about for my possible thesis work and her intrigue was encouraging.  It was wonderful to get some time to speak with someone outside of CCAD and have them talk through my work and ideas with me.  Time flew by unfortunately but nonetheless it was a great opportunity.

 

This semester has been really wonderful and chalk full of studio visits which has been so helpful and eye opening.  I realized last semester I had not really taken advantage of visiting artists and opportunities like this and so I made a promise to myself that this semester I would make sure to really take advantage of visiting artists and lecturers who were willing to meet with students and do my best to meet with as many as possible.  So far it has served as a really positive avenue to understand my work better and get more of a holistic insight.  I am so blessed to be at a program that offers so many opportunities for growth and exploration.

 

Also- Amanda was the first person to ever ask me if I was a feminist and in the moment I was almost startled by the question.  I felt almost nervous or unsure but proudly answered, yes.

Words of wisdom

The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind.  I had a studio visit with photographer Laura Larson prior to her artist talk and it was refreshing to have someone with no prior knowledge of me or my work look at what I am creating.  Almost objectively she provided me with some great feedback, questions to think through, and as always, artists to look at.  Her visit was a great precursor to my upcoming critique.

Prior to that meeting, I met with  CCAD professor and staff member, John Cairns as well as my mentor and CCAD Professor Danielle Julian Norton.  John and I met to discuss some technology troubleshooting and the content/concept of my work.  As always, he was encouraging and uplifting.  Prompting me to push further within the work and continue to make it stronger with its content.  Danielle likewise has really been pushing me to further my concept.  There is one piece that she believes is missing that could really build the concept and fully flesh out the work.. a piece I am still looking to develop.  She also is very encouraging about the discussion points of my work and the development of the language around it.  Her questions, curiosities, and points always leave me with more to explore and investigate which I very much appreciate.

My critique the following week was equally as constructive as these two meetings.  Leading up to the critique I was excited for my peers reaction and really looking forward to hearing their feedback and their thoughts on how I could continue to move forward.  I presented two video iterations of myself ironing in a variety of fashions.  What I mean by that is that in one video I am in a way going through the mundane task of ironing in a bored uninterested manner, seeming slightly frustrated.  In the other video I become a variety of characters.  A woman dressed for work, a woman in lounge clothes, a woman in pajamas, and a woman who has just come from the gym.  Within this video the task of ironing is much more apparently frustrating.  My motions are much more violet (if you can imagine a violent way in which to iron), and my frustration with the task/notion of the task is much more apparent.  Both videos were projected onto a gallery wall, the first one projected through a silk print of a video still taken from the actual video.  I also presented 4 photographs in which I was basically overtaken by the clothing that I was ironing and presented the ironing board with the mass of shirts in the corner of the space.  (My peers felt these were both unnecessary additions- the videos served enough purpose and I don’t necessarily disagree).

I am keen to continue with the video work and perhaps really take some time to develop these female characters more thoroughly with really thought out and intentional costuming/dress.  As I move forward I plan to continue to use the task of ironing as a tool to create discussion and bring to light the oppression of women within domesticity.  I hope to develop my video work further and really broaden my skill-set as an artist within this realm as well as really be able to develop the language and intentionality between all of my choices and decisions aesthetically moving forward.