Several years ago while digging through my mom's garage, I found an old wooden artist's box (18" x 14"). It was probably from, I'm guessing, the 1960s and held paints, brushes, charcoal, and other art supplies, most of which were trashed. The box, however, caught my eye as a possible container for an assemblage. I used the lid last year to hold an assemblage I made for some friends out in Ohio. The other half, the container portion with dividers, got buried in my studio--until, that is, I found it earlier this week. Here's what I did with it. Found objects, poster paper, and pieces from cigar boxes.
The old-style images from the cigar boxes, coupled with bits of text from an circus poster, made me think of those men and women who (pre-digital age) made a living hand painting signs. (Sounds like a gig I could've gotten into.) I finished the theme with a well-used brush and a couple of calligraphy pens (upper left).
Below are a few detail pictures.
Finished this little (4.5" x 9" x 1.5") assemblage today. It's called "Secure the Border," and it features a vintage photo, found objects, and vintage paper/images from an old seed catalog.
In my last post I shared the inspiration for this latest assemblage. Therefore, I won't blather on much more, other than to say it's finished. Oh, and also to give the dimensions: 6" width X 9" height X 2.5" depth.
Below is a detail pic of the lower portion. This little chamber will be covered in glass; however, because of the glare, I left off the glass for this shot.
In my last post--my messy art lair--you may have noticed an old White Owl cigar box amongst all the other junk. It's the container for my latest project.
Owls have always fascinated me. As young boy on my daily, pre-dawn paper route, a great horned owl once flew between me and the streetlight. I was briefly enveloped in shadow and, needless to say, momentarily terrified.
With their nocturnal tendencies, enormous eyes, and eerie calls, I can see why owls have been the subject of folklore and myth. We humans tend to demonize that which we don't understand. Therefore, owls have often been associated with, among other things, "evil" (a vague, human-constructed term usually used to distract our attention away from honest introspection--but I'll save that discussion for another post). To me, though, owls are amazing creatures.
I discovered that in many Native American tribes owls are the bearers of the deceased's soul as it passes from this world to the next. In this manner owls performed an honorable, necessary task. Kind of cool, huh? This bit of folklore is the inspiration for this project.
Below is my "owl," created from vintage photos (someone's ancestors), which will be the focal point of my piece.
Below is an owl silhouette (roughly the same size as the above image) cut from thin plywood. At this point it's just coated in gesso--but eventually I'll add some collage elements to this layer.
In the next pic I've placed the cut-out layer above the image. This gives you an idea of where my idea's going... These two layers are NOT going to touch; my plan is to leave a space of about 1" between them, creating depth in the piece.
Below the owl is a rectangular opening. My intent is to box this in with a glass cover. What will it contain? Frankly I don't really know at this point.
However, I'm kickin' around the idea of leaving it empty so that whomever purchases the piece can fill it with personal items gathered from their ancestors--kind of a shrine. However, since this shrine idea requires someone buying my piece (and, frankly, my art's been garnering ZERO purchases lately), I may just go ahead and fill this space with something from my collection of interesting junk. We'll see...
An update from yesterday's blog post... Today I added some color to the blocks, as well as some collage elements. I'm still deciding whether to call it good or add another layer of collage on a few of the blocks. By the way, this cigar box is a small one: 6.5 X 5.25 X 3". My original intent was to put a hanger on the back so it could be used for wall art, but I think it works just as well as a free-standing piece.
I had an idea to create a sort-of "tile" affect inside a little cigar box. As shown in the pics below, I cut up some chunks of wood in various dimensions so that they could be arranged in the box. Next I'll dive into my collection of paper ephemera and add different images/text to each "tile." I may paint the sides of the tiles a uniform color, or I may just leave them natural, so to speak. I haven't made up my mind yet. Again, these are just work in progress shots; I'll post pics of the finished piece when I get there.
Today's time in the dungeon "studio" was--if I may say so--quite productive. I completed this assemblage, which is housed in a 16 X 5 X 4" sewing cabinet drawer. Rarely do I complete an entire project in one day, so this is indeed a banner occasion.
The focal point of this assemblage is a tintype photo. The photo's subject, to me, has the look of someone who's seen the inside of quite a few saloons. So the piece's title is sort of tongue-in-cheek, celebrating his life of drinkin', smokin', and carousin'.
As with most of my work, this one also includes a fair share of found objects, such as strips I cut from various cigar boxes, an old medicine bottle, some .22 shells, and a metal Marbo heel plate.
Here's a short vid of my piece entitled "Once Upon a Time." No sound; just me trying to display how the lens works and showing off the contents of the piece.
The inspiration for this piece, which I constructed in a 7.5 X 6.5 X 3.5" wooden cigar box, is the old tintype photo (shown above) of two mustachioed gentleman, smoking cigars. Brothers? Outlaws? Lovers?
I've embedded a convex lens in the lid in order to, when the lid is closed, magnify the photo. (The lens was taken from one of those outdoor projectors people used to use to shine holiday/seasonal images on their houses.) When the lid's opened, it magnifies a "shift" key from an old typewriter.
Other than the box, photo, and lens, the piece includes various vintage papers and plenty of found objects.
Just finished this assemblage, called bad medicine. It's constructed in a cigar box and includes, among other things, a ceramic doll hand, a metal frame, vintage paper, animal bones, and other found objects.
In this close up (left), you can see the doll hand. It sits atop what I believe is an end-cap from an old towel rack. The dragon-themed frame is metal, which I painted with a few layers of acrylic.
Below is a shot of the lower portion of the piece. The hand is clutching a string on which dangles some tiny bits of bone and a raccoon tooth.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.