Monday, November 16, 2015

On the Roof

A lot of recent events have occurred on the roof of my apartment in Union City. Some very good and some not so pleasant. Life continues to surprise me, yet despite everything that's happened or perhaps because of everything that has happened, I have to keep on living, I have to keep on making art.

Since I moved here in June, I knew I wanted to make a photograph on the roof but I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to use my growing collection of cameras in some way. And so I began last week to make an attempt without knowing exactly what I was doing.

It started off kind of messy. At first, I wanted it messy. But as I stared at it, I felt as if it needed some kind of order (and I'd had enough chaos recently). Nice thing about this roof, I was able to leave it up for a while as I continued to think about it. Here's what I thought of the next day:

Of course, the next day after I finished setting it up, the wind picked up and started moving some of the pieces. I was able to get a few shots but soon gave up after getting frustrated by having to move the pieces back. So I took it down. Not ready to lose any pieces quite yet.

I hope that I'll be able to do a second round before it gets too cold. Although it might be interesting with some snow. Or frost.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Fiercest Light

My first curated art show The Fiercest Light for the Union City Arts Festival went well. It was moved to the Arts Depot and was combined with their college juried art show judged by Hector Perez. Which I was grateful for because I didn't have to work with the artist space that doesn't have electricity yet. Hopefully it will soon, it's a work in progress.

I enjoyed the role as curator and going through the process of putting a show together. I definitely plan on doing more shows in the future.

Flowers for Freedom by Vicki Vardaman

The title for the show The Fiercest Light came from the quote that started this blog, simply replace red with art:

"Art is the most joyful and dreadful thing in the physical universe; it is the fiercest note, it is the highest light, it is the place where the walls of this world of ours wear the thinnest and something beyond burns through." -G.K. Chesterton

I chose the title because I wanted something that was strong, something that reflected how I felt about art, its strength and its fierceness.

I also ended up in the local newspaper because I was awarded Best of Show for Transitory (below) and won $500 thanks to The 209, a local consignment store and supporter of the arts in Union City. Which came at a very good time and helped fund my recent trip to Louisville for the SPE Midwest Regional Conference.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Working on Things

I am excited and preparing for my first curated show, "The Fiercest Light" which is happening during the Union City Arts Festival on September 11-12. The opening reception will be Friday, September 11 from 5-9 pm. It's going to be in Afterimage Studios (still in the process of creating a sign, and yes, I named it!) and it will be the first show in the artist studio as part of my residency. Already have a few submissions and can't wait to see more. Deadline to submit is August 24!
I'm the boss and you're my bitch by Hannah Backer

"The Fiercest Light" will also feature video projections around town Friday evening, thanks to the help of my lovely video professor Maura Jasper. I'm hoping to do one as well if I can manage it. We shall see.

 In the meantime, here are a few images from my job as a lab tech at the Union City Wastewater Treatment Plant:

There's a snake in the one on the right above, can you see it?

I'm taking pictures of what I do (and lots of spider webs) and posting them to Instagram as a challenge to see if I can make art about a sewage treatment plant. Already have a few ideas involving specimen bottles now (I blame Jacinda's influence).

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Settling in and a show

I've been adjusting to Union City. Not bad for a small town. Except for the trains, which are constant and loud and make it difficult to sleep at night. Hopefully I'll get used to them soon. I've been staying busy and making things.

I started my job for the city. I'm working as the lab tech at the sewage treatment plant, which isn't as terrible as it sounds. Surprisingly. I'll admit, I was worried at first. But I get to drive a golf cart around like a grandma, gather water samples, and then do a bunch of tests in the lab. Apparently I have a knack for lab work. Must be my love for the dark room. At least I have time to make art and don't have to pay rent. Can't beat that.

Here's the studio space. Still pretty raw space right now. A lot of things have been up in the air with this program, but I have plans to use this space as a temporary gallery and curate a group show for the Union City Arts Festival on September 11-12.

Speaking of shows, I just installed my ongoing project, Doubts at the Central Public Library in Madison, WI this past Friday. A bit of a drive, but everything went smoothly. For the most part. Except for driving through Chicago. I'm so glad it's up and out of the way. It will be on display until September 25th.

There was also some awesome work on the other floors by artists Jeremy Wineberg and Luke Johnson.  I love the library and all that they're doing with art. And Madison is pretty nice. I wouldn't mind living there. Planning on spending more time there when I go back to pick up my work.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interning at Artlink

I began working at Artlink as a gallery intern in January. This was a 10-hour per week volunteer gig that I did while continuing to work at the terrible Steak 'N Shake. I enjoyed my time there, it was something to do that was art related. My tasks ranged from mopping the floors to hanging artwork for the next show. I learned a lot. I got better with a hammer. I didn't quite get over my fear of heights, but I definitely made some progress. I learned what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) when packing and shipping your artwork thanks to the 35th National Print Show (my favorite exhibit at Artlink thus far).

(Photo taken by the lovely Crystal Monhollen)
I really liked being involved. The staff is great (especially when they bring in donuts on your birthday, thanks Amber!). Artlink has a lot of great programs and opportunities for artists in the community. CO.STARTERS being one of them. Here is a photo I took of Amber Sturgis giving a presentation on her new business idea, FocalNova:

My favorite part (besides working with great people) was visiting Tim Andersen's studio, a recent CO.STARTERS participant, and owner of Bel Air Photography where he specializes in professional headshots.

Boy is he good at what he does. I might have to have him take my headshot sometime.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to intern at Artlink and I'm going to miss being there.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A New Beginning

Something good happened. Finally. I recently applied for an artist residency in Union City, Indiana. A brand new program where they are inviting four emerging artists to live in a rent free apartment, have a shared studio space, work part time in the town and on a to be determined community project, and make art. It's like a dream come true. Ever since my visit (and interview) in April where I was very impressed by its potential and everything going on, I was excited and anxiously hoping I would get this opportunity. And I did! I'm feeling so hopeful and so very ready for this new beginning. It could not come at a better time. Unfortunately, I was too nervous during the interview, so I don't have any photos at the moment. But for those wondering where Union City is, here you go:

And yes, it's a small town. But it's full of so much potential. Here's hoping I'll get the room painted my favorite shade of red. A part of me may have taken that as a sign (silly, I know). The more I think about red, the more I feel like Maggie Nelson.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

After the rain...

I'm still going through the photos (and making notes for the next time), but I thought I would share my favorite of what I've edited so far with Hannah. This is after it rained and the wind swept petals across the mirrors.

Hopefully something interesting like the petals will happen for the next time (and when I have a wider lens for my nice camera). I would love to do this during winter too, but that would be slightly more difficult. Hannah has already offered to lay in the snow. Sometimes I think she's crazier than I am. Maybe it will happen. I'll just have to buy her lots of hot chocolate.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Round One of the Mirror Wing

So the lovely Hannah came to visit and it was a very productive weekend full of photographing, seeing art, and eating good food. Her company is always welcome. The first test run of the broken mirror wing (still thinking about a title) began Friday and was taken down the next afternoon. (Special thank you to Blake for bringing his brother to open the garage door!)

Needless to say, it was a learning experience and I have plans to do it at least once more. It also felt like a performance piece for the entire neighborhood. Probably not something they see everyday. Here was my lovely setup (taken on Saturday):

The weather was perfect, surprisingly. Friday was nice and sunny and the next day it rained and the wind swept petals across the mirrors. Strange because I had been thinking I needed to do something with the petals for a photograph and then this happened.

I can only hope the weather will be like that again for the next round. Here's a shot on Friday from the ladder:

Now to edit the images with Hannah in them. Hopefully I'll be able to post them in the near future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Pieces

I've noticed I have a fondness for destroying specific objects. For some time now, I have slowly been collecting old, cheap, often digital film cameras and taking them apart in various ways. Currently, I have a couple drawers and a shoe box full of the pieces from many different cameras (I've lost count now). This destruction began for a variety of reasons; once I started though, I found I couldn't stop.

I knew I wanted to do something sculptural with the pieces. I tried a few things, experimented a little while in school, mostly failures. Lately, I've been trying to push myself. Eventually I want to make work that's more 3-D instead of simply gluing the pieces to a surface. Still, I'm happy with how this one turned out (finished a few weeks ago):

Smaller scale this time around (unlike this one), the pieces are glued to a 7" x 5" piece of Plexiglas. It also made for an interesting negative for cyanotypes. I'm excited to take this work further. Now I just need to figure out how to obtain larger quantities of cameras.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mirrors and Wings

One of my current projects at the moment has involved breaking mirrors and a lot of strong words in the process. The end goal right now is to create a photograph with my friend, Hannah, as a model. Perhaps it will turn into something else as I go along. Here's the initial sketch:

The scale is approximately 9' long and 3' wide. I've had this idea for a while now, I think since high school, but didn't have the time or the drive to do it while I was in college. But it was always in the back of my mind. When I shared this sketch with Jacinda, she reminded me of this sculpture that I'd seen before (probably in one of her lectures) and had forgotten by Anselm Kiefer, Book With Wings.

I happened to find two 3' x 3' mirrors with someone's trash on the street where my parents live. The reflection of the sun caught my eye as I was backing out of the driveway. The mirrors would remain in my trunk for a few years. Until recently.

I learned, especially with these mirrors that were 1/4" thick, all the right and wrong ways to break mirror. It did not break exactly how I wanted, so I had to improvise. And only nicked myself once in the process. Surprisingly. Here's the rough layout at the moment:

Hopefully I'll be able to do a test run before Hannah arrives at the end of the month for a much needed visit.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Color Red

And so I begin this blog with these words (thanks to Jacinda, the continual sender of all red quotes):

"Red is the most joyful and dreadful thing in the physical universe; it is the fiercest note, it is the highest light, it is the place where the walls of this world of ours wear the thinnest and something beyond burns through." -G.K. Chesterton

I've started a project on the color red. Inspired by Maggie Nelson's book, Bluets (more on that later) and because Jacinda said I should write the red book when I told her that it was my favorite color. Still uncertain of where it will lead. Hell, I'm uncertain of a lot of things at the moment. Right now, I am currently fascinated by this bright developing tray that has yet to be used for its original purpose. It seems to be a reoccurring shade. This image was made for The Postcard Collective last summer.

Hopefully things will soon change and I will have a dark room again. Oh how I miss it right now.