well gang, here we are again, at yet another BIG 500. Now that isn’t a bad thing. Most people I know would be surprised to find out that I make stuff –art, if you want to call it that–and that’s my fault. Part of that is that is I’ve got no game, no business savvy, no promotion, zip, nada, zilch –I don’t even really talk about it. The other big part is that I just don’t make a lot of art in a year’s time, so when you put that together, my website is just one “88 STRONG” after another “BIG 500” for the most part. I get it. There’s many reasons why this is — none that are great, and none really your business (unless you feel like being my patron, then we can go into details, because someone’s support would be crazy great. Do patrons even exist?)
I’m going to chat for a minute about this years set for the BIG 500. This all started out over the summer when a friend of mine was making panels that correspond to the Chakra colors. I don’t subscribe to the Chakra thing, but seeing panels of bright primary colors rekindled an interest in making colorful abstract pieces. I dig color theory and abstraction, yet most of my work usually centers around a found image that would be collaged, a story would be created, and while color would play a role, it was the supporting cast.
Color and Pattern can be the story.
Pattern makes me think of quilts, which makes me miss my gramma. My family isn’t that artsy, so I take note when I hear how my retired dad tinkers in his basement-woodshop making birdhouses, and I encourage mom to sell those Afghans she crochets, and “Like” on FB everything beautiful my distant relative Jan Christensen creates (an amazing photographer), but when I was a kid, the only artsy thing I saw from my family was my gramma’s quilts. The whole dining room would be taken up with the table-stretcher contraption, so you couldn’t hide it. Quilting sure as hell didn’t look like it could just be a hobby or something to do when you were bored and cold (my mom’s reply to why she crochets for free), although I bet gramma didn’t make a dime off it either . Serious craftsmanship and time is put into making good quilts. Taking fragments of colored patterned cloth, cutting them to shape, making whole new patterns. It’s a beautiful art. I’ve thought it would be great to learn, but i don’t have the slightest where to start, and I’m sure I don’t have the time or dedication needed.
Around the same time as all the color thoughts were bubbling, I ran across a basic quilting pattern book at the bins. Now, as of late, I’ve been all about the Gel Medium Transfer technique, with my newer works building in layers, where one transferred layer sat on/over/through another. I was inspired –I used one of the patterns, a basic “Columbia Star” pattern, as my drop-in point. Color, pattern, and a shape, the basic cube, that’s the beginning. The next part was about slinging paint.
I’d throw paint down, frisket the panel, cut out my pattern, maybe throw more paint down, maybe gel medium a layer of texture down, and then pull that frisket off, put more down and kept continuing the process. Then there are a few pieces here which have no paint-slinging involved, they are strictly just transferred images on top of other transferred images.
What I found fun was the de-evolution of the pattern. Some I kept tight, didn’t let those shapes float around, others i tried dealing with creating some kind of depth, some I broke apart, and there are two (one is pictured) where I got away from the pattern altogether, though I feel the physically-tiled piece still identifies with the other.
I named these pieces “PROBLEM AREAS”, as I took this as a challenge to create with color/pattern/shape, along with the usual challenges I encounter in art-creation, but also as a nod to a musician I had been listening to practically throughout the entire time I made these. ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER
Side note: here’s what gets me–after about 3/4 through this series, I’m down at the bins (again) and find a book on some quilting artists and I am thoroughly humbled. I am in complete awe of Jan Myers-Newbury. It’s as if she had a similar kind of idea process with color, pattern, and evolving/de-evolving in her quilting, (i believe she does say something about starting out with the basic square) and has become some zen-master of it.
If I were to keep going down my path with what I have in these few pieces, I could only dream to have them looking anywhere near as beautiful as hers. Click and you’ll see.