Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Here is the first completed double page from my sketchbook. I've been working on 4 open pages at the same time (as you do) but I really don't like my chances for getting the whole book done. I realise now that the project has been going since July (?) whereas I thought October was the start and so only felt one month behind. Now I feel five months behind. Less than a month before I 'postmark' it (sorry, but I don't know what that means - does it mean so long as it is postmarked the 15th of Jan they will accept it no matter how long it takes to arrive??). But I told myself this would not be a stressed project because it is after all the holiday season. Relax.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I know I complained to anyone who'd listen (Hi Karen!) about having to write an essay AND give a PowerPoint presentation on Frida Kahlo a couple of months ago but the fact is the process was enriching (learning hey, who knew?). I've always been fascinated by Frida Kahlo's circumstances but not so enamoured with her actual work - I just didn't like her style. Researching Frida however and her paintings turned that around somewhat. Now I get it. Still, I wouldn't want to have Frida's My Birth hanging in my living area (Madonna owns the original and decides who'll make it as a friend depending on their reaction) but I do love the kitsch that has grown up around her iconic image and has it's roots in Mexican folk art - the very thing I disliked about her style in the first place. The best part though for me was discovering ex-voto and retablo which were popular in 19th century Mexico and which Frida drew inspiration from. They are small religious paintings on tin which give thanks to a saint for intervening in a tragic event or illness. Sometimes the retablo will depict the tragic event, inscribe a sentence or paragraph abut it and in the corner have the intervening saint. In ex-voto it's just a painting of the saint. Searches on google images or etsy will turn up ex-votos or retablos of Frida Kahlo herself. Like she's the saint now. The saint of suffering or rather triumph of the spirit over suffering I like to think. Which is why when I had lots of tin left over from my chandelier project it seemed obvious that I should make my own Frida ex - voto with a little polymer clay. Then it seemed obvious that with a bit of blu- tac it could be a detachable element of the chandelier - especially if I wanted to push the chandelier over the line into kitsch! As for Affluenza maybe it's just a reminder to give thanks for what we already have. Hope you are enjoying the festive season!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Phew! The Affluenza Chandelier is complete and has been put past the panel for assessment. Pretty much the most involved project I've ever completed I can finally breath a sigh of relief. It brought it's fair share of stress along the way but I learnt a lot. I now have metal wrangling skills and look at mundane objects and (non vegetable) refuse in a whole new way. I also learnt that if you are sick stay away from permanent super glue based decisions: in these instances blu tac can be your friend. I am also really lucky that we had our assessment in two parts and that I learnt in a forgiving environment that I am NOT, even about a project I know inside out, capable of speaking off the cuff. Fortunately I had a week until the graded panel assessment to get over the virus and learn my presentation off by heart - also rewrite it so it made sense (that helped, who knew?) and sell the concept behind my chandelier the best I could. In the end it seemed too much for some flan tins and plastic cutlery to embody the fullness of Hamilton's arguments in Affluenza so I narrowed it down to a metaphor: the Family Meal. That is taking the time to cook fresh ingredients in enduring materials and nurturing your connections with family and friends around the meal table in contrast with the takeaway meal eaten alone after a twelve hour day at work. The flowers are of course my depiction of the "Down Shifting" Hamilton cites as the cure for Affluenza. They start at the bottom tier, multiply in the middle and by the top tier form a thriving garden. Using yellow also helped me portray the sense of energy and new life and abundance (as opposed to material abundance) that comes from individuals downshifting (shame on anyone who thinks I used yellow because I've got a BIG crush on it and it's SO hot in design right now.....).
As a final note I should probably start calling it the Down Shifting chandelier because, like the book, it ends (and I'm hoping this comes across visually) with the feeling of optimism and new possibility. And plus no body wants a depressing chandelier do they?????