Lately I have been fascinated with what an artist friend of mine called “under the bridge” subject matter. I have always sort of liked that idea of found objects which are sort of half hidden and usually not of the most esthetic character. So today I set out to make a couple of these pieces. I had been molding some add ins over last couple of weeks in preparation. Sometimes I do add in none paper objects but for these I wanted to keep it pure paper. I started with laying down a foundation by pouring raw pulp on to the screen. My pulp consists of old papers, in this case old Spanish test and worksheets blended with some kind of a binder. My preferred binder is wall paper paste but today I was using acrylic medium. After I poured the base I set in some molded pieces from a plastic container that had these really nice octagon shapes that reminded me of a honeycomb. Next I interlaced cords over the paper that would be pulled up later. After having all the cords strategically placed I started to pour on another layer of paper. Finally after about an hour of drying time I pulled up the cords exposing the layers below. This is my favorite part of my art. I love the fact that it is done outside and that much of the process is barely within my control. I often have little idea what I will encounter doing the piece and am usually quite inspired from beginning to end.
Today I am going to drift away from biking and Guerilla Art and take a look at the “work” of art. This morning while cleaning the litter boxes my wife made the comment that she should be doing some work. In truth she had been working on her art all morning. Then, when I went to the post office and a young man from the neighborhood made a comment about supposing I was spending the summer relaxing. I answered with some flippant remark about being ready for school to start so that I could have a break. If I had said I spend my summers making art he would have felt that his suspicions had been confirmed. I got to pondering on why even we as artist sometimes see what we do as insignificant. Artists are a unique breed in that they can feel guilty for doing art work as well as not doing art work. I suppose it all comes down to monetary value. If I was selling my work and making money it would be easier to justify. At this point I am just putting them in the basement and running out of space to store them. When I first started doing Guerilla Art it was an attempt at creating art without having something I would have to store. The first couple of years went well but at a certain point rebuilding them over and over again started to take its toll. I tried to change the constructions each time but the materials kind of dictated the form and they tended to always turn out looking somewhat the same and it was a lot of physical work. By the time I was done with the larger ones I would be covered with sweat and dirt not to mention all types of biting insects. Most people wouldn’t have worked that hard to make money but for me it was a labor of love. I am lucky as an art teacher my teaching can pay for my addiction. Making art is indeed something that would be impossible for me to give up. It is the people who have to make a living off their art that I really feel for. After years of going to school and perfecting their craft they may or may not be able to make a living from their craft. In many cases these artist are forced into taking other jobs to pay the bills while burning the midnight oil to do their art. I realize that historically this has always been a problem. Who as an artist hasn’t heard the familiar, “But you like doing art” usually from somebody who is trying to get you to do something for nothing. For the most part I do like doing art but as I tell my students when they start to get bogged down, “Art is 25% inspiration and 75% hard work. Over the next couple of entries I am going to take a look at a couple of my paper pieces and the process (work) of making them.
Day 4 (7/5/11)
Most of the time we go camping so that we can kayak, bike or do some other type of physical activity. However, there is something to be said for just the simple pleasures of cooking over a fire, relaxing and enjoying your surroundings. This camping trip illustrated that premise. We had a great time kayaking and we even did a little biking until the heat, horseflies and impending rain drove us back to camp. The rain never did come down very hard or long but it did give us an opportunity to just sit around and enjoy camping though. After cooking up some chicken pudgy pies over the fire we finished it off with some dessert pies. All of this we washed down with a nice bottle of Merlot. We spent a lot of time being entertained by the nuthatches and chipmunks. There must have been a family of nuthatches in the trees over our Tepee. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we had procured the tepee site again this year. Anyway, between the nuthatches putting on an aerial display in the trees and the chipmunks scurrying around our feet we had quite a show. We also took some time to build some cairns around our campsite which the chipmunks seemed to enjoy climbing. We decided to try to film them climbing the cairns so with a little persuasion and a lot of patience we finally got our shot. It was nice to just relax and although we enjoy the physical activities there is something to be said for just savoring the experience of camping.
No Chipmunks were hurt in the makeing of this movie.