I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I have a small show this September, so I've been pushing hard to get a body-of-work together. My goal is to have at least a dozen pieces ready to go by then. Today, my 33rd day of freedom since school dismissed for the summer, I finished my tenth piece. I believe I'll easily reach my goal--and then some.
Below are a few shots of the piece I finished today. It's called "Flight Plan." It's a fairly simple piece (although it took me much longer than it should have to complete) featuring three portals. The top portal includes a resin reproduction of a starling's skull; the middle portal is an image of a (surprise!) starling; and the bottom portal includes a wooden egg that I painted to look like a starling's egg. The piece also includes a 1950s Nebraska flight map.
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.
Here's a free-standing assemblage--using a King Edward cigar box as the container--that I just finished. Other than the cigar box, it includes--among other things--found objects, vintage papers and book board, a bone in a glass vial, a piece of tongue-and-groove floor board, a ground squirrel skull, and a small porcelain (called a "frozen Charlotte") doll.
It's tough to see in this picture (left), but inside this lower chamber is the ground squirrel head atop the frozen Charlotte body. This chamber also lights up from the inside; I used an LED from one of those fake candles. It flickers, which adds a nice effect to the chamber.
I've constructed this most recent piece--called "If You're Not Losing Your Head, You're Not Paying Attention"--in a 10" X 10" metal cash box, exactly like the one above. (Actually, the lid has been removed, so it's really made from the bottom two-thirds of a cash box.) After composing the various elements into the finished product, I discovered that the use of a cash box ended up being rather fitting, given the message of my piece. I've said before that my art is, more than anything else, satirical at heart--so, yes, most of my pieces have a message/theme. "If You're Not Losing Your Head..." pokes fun at us Americans, an easily-herded and -manipulated breed (sheeple). Normally I don't comment on my intended message because I feel it's important that those who view the art (like readers of literature) generate their own themes. However, given the serendipitous nature of how the box itself tied into my message, I figured a little explanation might be in order.
The power elite in this country (organized religion, Wall Street, the military industrial complex, corporate media, and so on) and their representatives slithering through D.C. and statehouses across the country have used FEAR--sometimes blatantly, but often subliminally--to manipulate us. Sadly, this tactic (scare the shit out of them so they don't question anything) has been, by and large, quite successful. We're surrounded by fear-inducing messages--hence the "Warning Wheel," which I happened across on a walk one morning, serving as kind of a halo in my piece (see below detail shot). The goal of those in charge is that we so "lose our heads" in fear and distraction that we'll sign over our minds and willingly accept what can only be described as mental servitude. In addition, like a professional pick-pocket, the power elite hold our attention, all the while reaching into our pockets and lifting our cash (see how the cash box fit in?). So, anyway, take it or leave it--that's the story of how "If You're Not Losing Your Head, You're Not Paying Attention" came to be.
Below is a side view, where you can see the depth (about 3") of the cash box that houses the piece.
The sharp nails (above) and barbed wire (below) were conscious choices--there's DANGER out there...be AFRAID!
I've been busy lately, so my time in the studio has been significantly limited--bummer. That said, I did manage this weekend to finish another piece. I started with a cigar box. Some older cigar boxes have interesting graphics--so oftentimes I simply leave the outside of the box as-is. The graphics on this particular box, though, didn't impress me, so I simply painted over it. The interior is covered with sheet music. The contents include a variety of found objects, including a small porcelain doll and cropped vintage photos. The dimensions of this piece (which I photographed without the glass to eliminate glare) are approximately 8" X 10" X 4".
Below's a side-angle shot, which displays the depth of the piece. Also note the frame; I used pieces from an old, flea market frame and cut them to length for the box.
Here's a close-up shot. Lots of found objects in a small space.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.