April 1, 2012
This week I have taken all my many ideas and projects and distilled and organized them. I even spent time in my studio cleaning and I am in the process of organizing and editing my blog.
My studio space is small but pleasant. I share the building with 2 other artists and a bicycle repairman. I enjoy the collaboration and the communal availability of tools and resources. It has facilitated my work on my assemblages so I now have 2 almost finished and one in process. This week with all the various sizes of empty plastic jugs and containers I have amassed, I am giving life to Mr. Jugman. I have used the studio building’s support structure to rig a metal cable so I can create a body by threading the jugs and suspending them in creative human form. Mr. Jugman has the possibility of being used as a publicity icon in conjunction with an upcoming group exhibit.
April 8, 2012
This week with the change in weather, resources have been plentiful. Between spring-cleaning and students leaving there is wealth of good objects at every trash receptacle. I have come to realize the availability of my resources is transitional. This affects my work – in what I find, what I can physically gather, what I can store. In my art practice I don’t go to the local art store for supplies and resources. I must wait and search for opportunities. This week I found several wood box/containers I was able to tie to the back of my scooter and I will use them to frame my print pieces and shadow boxes.
April 15, 2012
This week the 2 pieces I submitted to the RiArtEco exhibit in Florence were accepted. RiArtEco is an annual exhibit in Florence that celebrates art that focuses on recycling and ecological designs. It involves art and architecture. The event is for artists who create works using green materials and found objects. My 2 submissions are ‘Coin Face’ and ‘Old American’. Coin Face is a 70cm by 55cm ink jet print of an assemblage constructed of parking meter parts and various found objects. ‘Old American’ is a sculptural assemblage of items found in America and on the streets of Florence. They are exhibited on a 200cm by 135cm metal grid screen. The metal grid screen is a recent find that I believe came from an old hospital bed. I have engineered a simple hinge system so it stands vertically and can safely support the wood, plastic and metal elements of the Old American assemblage.
April 22, 2012
During this time I have been traveling quite a bit. The last city I visited was Los Angeles, California. While there I had a chance to visit two museums MOCA and the Getty. MOCA had an exhibit, The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol. The exhibition addressed styles that merge popular culture and current technology into its vocabulary and included works by Tauba Auerbach, Mark Bradford, DAS INSTITUT (Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder), Urs Fischer, Wade Guyton, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Seth Price, Sterling Ruby, Josh Smith, Rudolf Stingel, Kelley Walker, Andy Warhol, and Christopher Wool. According to the exhibit …didatica… “Andy Warhol thrived on the increasing confusion between high art and progressive popular culture and the challenge to conventional methods of painting by the techniques of mechanical reproduction. These confrontations simultaneously undermined and expanded the accepted approaches to painting.” This show reaffirmed my belief of technology’s impact on contemporary art. I particularily liked Mark Bradfords, Ghost and stooges, a painting made without painting.
The Getty had an exhibit Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity. According to the….. didactic …….”Andy Warhol is one of the best-known artists of the 20th century, and had a background in commercial illustration. He is known for an aptitude for fads and recognition of the transitory nature of celebrity in consumer culture. As he famously explained, ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.’ Warhol maintained his place in the spotlight without revealing himself, insisting that neither his hand nor his persona were evident in his artwork. “ He is reflecting on the mass production aspect of the technological influences on his work. I liked Andy Warhol, New York City, Marie Cosindas American 1966
April 29, 2012
Got back to Florence and spent almost all my time in the studio preparing my RiArt Eco exhibit. I could not arrange for the The Old American assemblage to be shipped in time for the exhibition, so I’ve had to create a new piece which evolved into 2 pieces. They are ‘Bird in Space’ and ‘Man with Balls’. Both of these used found objects from the streets of Florence. Bird in Space is a cover of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor, and it consists of an old sled, used plastic water bottle, fan blades, plastic desk organizer and a faux bird. Man with Balls is a visually literal representation of man’s involvement in the universe. One of the spheres is back-lit with a changing LED light.
There are marketing opportunities at this show and my exhibit grids have facilitated easy display of my cards and pamphlets.
Yesterday I installed my three pieces and the exhibit grid at the Bibliotequa della Oblate. It is an incredible space – in the shadow of the Duomo it was built in 1287 and was part of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. In 2002 it was funded by the City of Florence and the Tuscany Region project and it became a new city library and is a used for cultural purposes. The exhibit space consisted of the ground floor portico which surrounded an inner courtyard garden. It was a pleasure meeting the other artists as we worked together to install our pieces. While talking with the artists I gained real insight into their motivations for using discarded items. There was a real diversity in the way the artists utilized ‘reused’ items. There were a number of ‘lighting’ installations – all different and all very professional. There was a clever use of recycled PET plastic containers in many items – from necklaces to lamps.
May 13, 2012
This week I have begun work on the third piece for my series ‘ Stacked Wrapped Whacked’. This series consists of triptychs showing objects that are stacked up and then wrapped up and then whacked. I assemble the objects in a stack then digitally photograph them, then I wrap the objects and digitally photograph them, and in the third image of the triptych the objects are destroyed by whacking them and the destruction is digitally photographed. This new piece involves the use of live plants. I am gathering resources that will consist of plant material. I will assemble and photograph in my studio then digitally manipulate the images following the format of the series.
May 20, 2012
I have stopped work on the stack, wrapped, whacked series temporarily as I was sidetracked by the discovery of wire real estate magazine racks. These are being replaced throughout the city by a corrugated vinyl stands. The obsolete wire racks are slowly disappearing from the streets. I found my 3 sitting next to a dumpster. For a while I have imagined assembling a larger than life human form created of these type racks. So it was a thrill to discover these. So now I am beginning the process of creating a wire man which I plan to have interact with my other larger than life human figure – Mr. Jugman. Mr. Jugman is created from discarded plastic jugs. At this point he is missing his legs. Exhibit possibilities…. a guerilla appearance at EX3 contemporary gallery’s new front green space (weed patch).
May 27, 2012
I have begun work on Wireman. The size of the resources (metal racks) are affecting the scale of the form. This could be big. It will need to be done in sections. The sections will need to be light, transportable and engineered for connectivity. I have wired metal forms (retail racks and bird cages) together to form the torso section. As I work the pieces are piling up and filling my small studio. To insure balance and strength the wire forms used in the legs should be the same size. As a result I have been searching and collecting wire objects in an attempt to find the proper sizes. Today I found a supply of metal coat hangers. They are becoming rare, and their wire is ideal for attaching the meal forms together. I’ve experimented with aluminum wire which is very malleable but it lacked tinsel strength. I may use this aluminum wire for more decorative purposes, as that is what it is better suited for.
June 3, 2012
Wireman is growing. I have decided to combine Wireman and Jugman into one assemblage. Two larger than life human forms engaged in mortal combat or a classic Roman wrestling pose.
I am adding bulk to Jugman – I have added a breathing apparatus to his back and extended his legs with more jugs. There is a beach on the Arno river that isn’t for swimming but the sand and sun bring out the sunbathers. I have considered having both figures emerging from the Arno and making their way to the sandy beach. Installed during the night the assembleges would provide a curious sight in the morning. I have recently rescued several new pieces from the trash, a large plastic globe that will replace the square head on Jugman. I have also located enough wire magazine racks to complete Wireman’s legs and arms.
Doing sketches and working with small, scale models, I have found it hard to come up with a combat/wrestling pose that does not look awkward. It may work out to be a face to face challenge with each figure separated by space but looking at one another. Again installation may be Jugman emerging from the river as Wireman prepares to defend the beach. Working on two figures at such a large scale has made it necessary to utilize my studio space more efficiently. I’ve had to make stacks on top of stacks.
One of my studio mates has offered to help me make tigg welds so I can assemble wireman in sections. The process is very industrial and slightly overkill as the wire racks are made of small gauge and cheap metal. We are melting through as many as we are attaching.
June 24, 2012
The original wire selected for attaching the elements was strong but too thick. Metal coat hangers worked – but there were few resources. Thinner wire gotten from a friend worked the best and allowed the most flexibility in design and sturdiness.
This facilitated the easy assembling of Jugman and helped in the foundation of Wireman. Working with these large scale forms led me to reflect on robot design and development. My design leaned to the human form with its symmetry of arms, legs and eyes. I think this is a natural stage of progression in robot development but I have come to realize – and it will be reflected in future projects – that symmetry is not important to robot design or function.
July 1, 2012
Construction of Wireman continues – resources abound thanks to friends dropping wire ‘things’ off at the studio. This feeling of collaboration has led me to put photos on Facebook.
Talking with friends and other artists, I am planning a photo shoot and scouting sites that will allow for easy access and exit. The beach along the Arno won’t work, as there are just too many people and probably will need a multitude of permits. A photographer friend has suggested a lake location north of Florence. Planning a site check this week.
July 8, 2012
The lake location will work perfectly. Matt will help with the use of his van and video and film equipment to assist in documentation and recording of the installation. The site requires a trek across sloping and twisting paths. A benefit of working with ‘trash’ is you can’t easily damage it during transportation. The general consensus was that we could easily get the pieces down the hill and with a little more effort we could get it back up.
July 15, 2012
I have been very busy in the studio finishing both robots. Wireman stands tall and secure, Jugman is having minor difficulties with his ankle joints (he has trouble standing). I thought back to my studio photography days where I would secure and fasten things behind the cameras view. I found sticks to prop him up and secured some gaffer’s tape and of course my spool of wire. The date for the shoot is now scheduled for July 20. Matt, my videographer/film photographer, is on board 100%.
July 22, 2012
On the day of the shoot it was 40 degrees and our early departure time slipped to noon. Disassembling and loading the pieces went better than expected. We started the one hour journey with everything secured stored in the van. Arriving at the lake we quickly set up on the shore, but the heat had drawn many bathers and so there were some site control issues that were quickly resolved.
First we used a time-lapse setup to record the assembling. Then I recorded images on my digital camera and a few shots were taken with large format film.
We worked for about a total of 5 hours at the location. I first concentrated on each assemblage individually, capturing their robot/human form. Then I spent a lot of time arranging and posing them for interaction. There was a wind blowing which affected Jugman’s stability more than Wireman’s This effect led to an creative decision to have Jugman in a position of repose. Wireman became the dominant feature in the image. The final image reflected one dominating the other – wire over plastic.
I have started working with the digital images. The files are large and sharp and I am considering up to 200% print enlargements for the exhibit in London. Working with Photoshop and creating layers and transparencies I have come to a retro-graphic-pop look I am quite pleased with. Cropping and coloring the images have given them a circus poster feel – almost begging for text. This is an avenue I will explore later.
I have also thought of crating an onsite sculpture/assemblage while in London using only resources found there adding a 3 dimensional element to my final show exhibit.
August 10, 2012
As I make arrangement to bring my final project to London, I have decided rather than transport physical prints made in Italy I will carry my files on a flash drive and print in London. I have rented a car to facilitate gathering resources for my on site sculpture/assemblage.
I have been reflecting on the MA class and my proposal. It’s been a process bringing me to dueling robots. Robots evolved in part because of the resources my cultural surroundings. Robots were a part of the late 50’s early 60’ mimicking human form with great style. They are true pop era icons. This allowed me to work for the first time in a larger scale than my earlier projects. As an artist/designer I am appreciative of their form .