I started by creating a foundation: coating an old board in black, shiny acrylic paint. It's rough around the edges, because I do love my grit.
I found myself with lots of leftover pink paper that I cut into squares and rectangles, then folded them into little cones. Paper is so resilient: the little guys stay shaped like that on their own! (Update: I did end up using double-sided photo mounting tape on half of them.) I imagined I was rolling dozens of massive pink joints: for those of you who know me, I hope that makes you giggle as much as it I did while doing it. I digress...The pink is my heart: fun, playful and intuitive.
I painted a few symbols with black acrylic on white paper and again folded them into cones that illustrate strength and balance. (Lately, I've been viewing lots of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.)
Then, I pasted all my paper cones on the board in a fluid way, drawing on the flow I'll continue to tap into. I'm not exactly sure what I've ended up with, but I do know that making this and having it around is going to help me stick to my resolve of uniting my mind and heart.
If you look closely, you'll see little squares of mirror rescued from a smashed disco ball I found in a dumpster (long story). These have been kicking around since the summer and I'm so excited that they finally found their place! I used them here because I think they represent the small doses of reflection that we all need to help make life a little more potent.
Happy twenty ten!
Toronto artist Posterchild recently took a break from installing art in NYC phone booths to propose to his girlfriend. He popped the the question by appropriating a sign reserved for ad space above a Manhattan subway stop. Posterchild writes:
She thought she was just helping me out with another street art project; I kept this covered until after it was installed and after the unveiling I was expecting some kind of reaction- but it took a little while to convince her that this was a proposal for real, and not just some art project!
And she said yes! Congrats!source of my puddle-heart condition: urban prankster
The most fun was seeing the lovely community in Toronto where art meets craft. There are insanely talented and supportive people who occupy this space and I'm happy to be a part of it in a small way. The entire experience has given me even more fuel to keep producing.
The fly by the seat of our pants strategy that Laurie and I employed throughout this process worked really well for us! I was really proud of the results and even happier with how we reached the end product without a major catastrophe throughout the collaboration. In fact, the experience has given me lots of confidence to keep on.
And, even though the idea of cutting out another fire escape silhouette makes my hands hurt, I'm fairly certain that my obsession with fire escapes has not nearly been satiated. We'll see how it all unfolds.
Here are some shots of the installation. Trying to explain how everything was situated makes my head throb, but hopefully this shows a bit of how it actually looked. I saw many people taking photos of it, so hopefully someone got at least one shot that pulls the components together.
1. It makes a loud humming noise that reminds me of a plane flying high overhead.
2. It has an on/off switch the is really large and makes me feel like I'm using a kid's toy camera with all those extra large buttons for easy use.
3. It emits warmth (I'm always cold).
4. It feels really low tech.
5. It has a compartment where the cord lives when not in use (I hate power cords).
6. It projects with a rounded frame that reminds me of photos from the 1980s.
7. It only has one basic function: to project transparencies. There's something comforting about a piece of technology that is uni-functional.
8. It was free and delivered to my door by a loved one.
Here are some shots of my lovely projector doing it's job very well onto my pink paper.
Friday, December 4th. 7-10pm
Exhibition runs December 3-13, 2009.
City of Craft takes place December 12-13th at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen St. West
Cream Tangerine Café At the Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto
Lizz Aston, Fiona Bailey, Amy Borkwood, Leah Buckareff, Marta Chudolinska, Heather Fagan, Meags Fitzgerald, Sara Guindon, Genevieve Jodoin, Serena McCarroll and Tyler Brett, Laurie McGregor, The Misanthrope Specialty Co., Jen Spinner, Gillian Wilson and more.
Craft processes and acts of making have a way of rooting people to their surroundings. People make or purchase craft items to enhance their domestic spaces and make themselves “at home.” Alternately, people take comfort in craft and art making when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory or when situated in transitional spaces such as on planes and buses and in waiting rooms. Home and Away (and In-Between) is an exhibition that strives to explore how the act of making enables us to relate to where we are.
Home and Away (and In-Between) is a thematic group exhibition of selected vendors, organizers and installation artists involved with this year’s City of Craft event. The exhibition also includes a few invited special guests artists. Home and Away will serve as a pre-fair party as well as a public preview of the wares in store at this year’s City of Craft. Please join us in celebrating our third awesome year!
About City of Craft:
City of Craft is a collective of craft-engaged locals who aim to build community in the Toronto craftscape, support independent craft businesses, and encourage the larger community to get involved with crafty happenings in the city. City of Craft is also a community-based craft culture event where community-arts groups, craft based initiatives/projects, studios, and other organizations are invited to do outreach to the public alongside a curated craft fair and craft-based installations. City of Craft is a place to buy, observe, experience, chat about, share and re-imagine all things handmade. This year’s City of Craft event takes place December 12-13th at the Theatre Centre. Don’t miss it!
I treated myself to these promotional booklets for an offset printer from the 1960s because they reminded me why I keep doing what I do. Even though the designs are bit dated, there's something precious about how much thought and care when into a promotional item such as this. Compared to present day where one can digitally print any old thing for a nominal fee, these booklets are works of art unto themselves.
Oh, and I like the pretty paper.
Man is a designer.
He designs for the betterment of his lot in the universe. He may design well or ill, feebly or powerfully. What he makes of his life depends on his vitality, his reason, his good will, his sense of responsibility to the whole and his individual integrity, his imagination and his spirit of adventure. The good designer, whether in art or architecture, engineering or advertising, will not be satistfied with the old moulds. He will be alive to all the discoveries and inventions, all the drives and ideals, of the contemporary world. Using the materials and methods of today, he will serve the needs of the world today, and he will lead the way tomorrow.
Understanding the past, serving the present, he will strive to see the patterns he creates as part of a larger greater pattern, the desing for living, the greater democracy, the richer, fuller life toward which all intelligent, responsible men are striving.
After cutting out countless mini paper cutouts of escapes, hemming and hawwing over colour and size and talking incessantly about what I want to do, I finally starting cutting the larger escapes for City of Craft. (Side note: I'm in love with overhead projectors. Who knew projecting imagery onto a wall would make me giddy?)
As per usual, I'm way more interested in the other space. Consequently, the negative shapes created by the fire escape silhoettes are being carefully saved. For what? I think I know, but I'll have to see. Planning too much is just...lame.
What I loved: the muted colour palette, lack of pandering any particular demographic, voice actors, Jim Henson muppets, decidedly un-CGI (looking) effects, Catherine Keener looking her age (looking great, I might add) and Jonze's interpretation of a fantastical, beloved children's tale.
My favourite part? When KW swallows the king: The child hero is faced with death and his female counterpart saves him by temporarily swallowing him whole. It's a tension-filled scene that symbolizes the sheer uncomfortableness of genuine growth. True growth is often smelly, annoying and yet, incredibly surprising and comforting, all of which is conveyed from the perspective of being inside the beast's belly.
I love this post that outlines how to make your very own Chanel logo tee. As I was reading it, I kept pronouncing Chanel as "Channel" in my mind like in that oh-so-bad yet oh-so-good movie (can't be called a film, really) Showgirls when Elizabeth Berkley calls her Versace dress "Ver-sas".
Make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again.source Derek Powazek
That’s it. Make something you believe in. Make it beautiful, confident, and real. Sweat every detail. If it’s not getting traffic, maybe it wasn’t good enough. Try again.
Then tell people about it. Start with your friends. Send them a personal note – not an automated blast from a spam cannon. Post it to your Twitter feed, email list, personal blog. (Don’t have those things? Start them.) Tell people who give a shit – not strangers. Tell them why it matters to you. Find the places where your community congregates online and participate. Connect with them like a person, not a corporation. Engage. Be real.
Then do it again. And again. You’ll build a reputation for doing good work, meaning what you say, and building trust.
It’ll take time. A lot of time. But it works. And it’s the only thing that does.
Decoding the Undertow-Documentary
Colin MacKenzie|MySpace Videos
A friend once called me out on saying "It's funny..." so often because she found herself using it constantly and could not for the life of her figure out where she picked it up from. I just looked at her guiltily. But, I secretly gloated: I'm usually the one who spongily starts talking like my friends, so knowing that it works both ways made me happy.
It's funny, then, that after a few weeks away from blogging (which feels like eons in blog time) that it is this very space that connects me to an exciting opportunity. I'll be collaborating with a dear friend, Laurie McGregor to produce an installation at City of Craft! My obsession with fire escapes continues to pay off creatively; Laurie and I will be using the escapes to explore links between craft and urban space. It's going to be a lot of work and also very exciting. Did I say exciting? It's exciting.
Here are a few photos that will likely be incorporated in the installation. Did I mention that I'm excited?
An interview with Ze Frank on Imaginary Audiences got me thinking about the purpose of being here in this space. He speaks of the nativity of creating only for oneself without considering audience, which I'm not completely on board with, but find intriguing.
I like to tell myself that whatever I choose to post here is complete self indulgence: I'm just regurgitating things I love in a way that's (hopefully) not too diary-esque but revealing nonetheless. And, maybe sharing some of my humble interpretations of my experience. Yet, I get a thrill when people tell me they like what they see here, or one of you leaves a comment. And, truthfully, if I didn't want to share, I'd stay cocooned in my own world. Revisioning my purpose here, I see that it's morphed into a sort of breathing. Once, I heard a street artist characterize her ad jams as breathing out: we breathe in messages everyday, consequently, her art is a natural reaction. It's impossible to estimate, but sources say anywhere from 150-3000 ads per day are read in some shape or form by the average Northerner.
Breathing out sounds better than self-indulgence, yes? Yes.
Here's a wonderful conceptual photography project by Matt Greenwood, a local designer and artist. If you find one of his installations around Toronto, consider yourself lucky. I won't take away from the project by blathering on, except to say that I love the simplicity of the idea and execution, so please go visit the website to learn more!
I'm inscribing these found pieces of wood with a story from Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales using vinyl letters and lettraset. These stories from around the world feature atypical heroines starring in tales with not-so-happy endings. The fairy tales I grew up with were gruesome and gritty in their own rite before they were Disnified. Sleeping Beauty? The prince is romancing a corpse. Snow White? The princess is living with what is reputed to be slaves. Little Red Riding Hood? The woodsman murders the wolf. These tales are rich with clues of a complex subconscious struggling to come to the surface. Tapping into our collective subconscious using stories that have been passed down through generations utterly fascinates me.
Instead, I was introduced to insanely talented contemporary collage artists (famous, infamous and otherwise) who are making it. Really making it.
I was surprised by the comradery, generosity and support shown to me by my fellow classmates and instructor. I continued with current ideas that I think might take years to fully develop and explore. I recognized that yes, this is fun, but it's also work.
I was wowed by our collective talent and power to express. We completed a round of exquisite corpse collages. I played this as a child, all the time and once, as an adult at a dinner party. Invented by the surrealists, one makes a portion of a figure with the rest of the paper folded (hidden from view, save for the portion one is currently working on), then trades with the next person; the group keeps going like this until all corpses are complete.
When we hung all the corpses on the wall, I was overwhelmed with their simple beauty and amazed by how they seemed to be composed by the same person. This exercise demonstrates to me, proof of collective consciousness and the importance of play in artistic expression.
I've reproduced them all here as a photo collage, but please don't use this image for anything else because it really isn't mine. (Anyway, it's such low resolution that you couldn't do much with it if you tried.) The actual size of each piece is about two by four feet, so try to imagine their beauty, grotesque power and loveliness. Perhaps then you can understand why I got teary when I saw them all hanging together.
digital c-print photographs, museum board, foam core, and polystyrene by Oliver Herring
translation: amazing, life-size sculptures pasted with collaged photographs of the figures.