Residency Critique

Originally posted March 2, 2017

In my last post, I shared with you a new series I am working on that I was going to be showing to my residency group for critique.  I had the critique this past Tuesday, and I think it went very well.  I got a lot of feedback and questions asked of me. Now I have a lot to think about moving forward with this series.

4 artists including myself were presenting Tuesday and we each had 15 minutes.  I thought to myself, “I won’t need 15 minutes,” but then I ended up going over! Oops!

I brought photos of what I have so far, that I shared with you last week, and a picture of one of my smaller collages for those who had not seen my work before.

I started with gluttony and how I was pleased with gluttony. I also mentioned that after gluttony I am not as satisfied with the previous pieces I did.  I showed them sloth and explained my issues with that particular piece.  The audience wasn’t saying much at this point.  I got a couple laughs here and there when I explained my frustrations with sloth ,but that was it.

I then began explaining the troubles I had working on lust but then showed them what I had come up with as a final result.  This was when everyone started talking.

The carrots were a huge hit! I was quite proud of that.  Jeff pointed out to me later that adding the carrots was one of the last ideas I had to make it more lust like and it worked!

An artist there said the feeling she got when she looked at it made her uncomfortable but that she liked how it made her feel at the same time!  She also thought the bunnies and carrots that I had constructed for the piece were whimsical and playful and suggested that I may not need to rely on children’s book images for  an entire piece like I have with the smaller collages.  She did say, however, that she really liked the magazine images in this piece.

Other feedback I got was that they wanted to see more lust pieces in my series, and on a larger scale.  Another artist pitched in that she would like to see me cover a whole wall with more bunnies and more carrots but have the bunnies interacting with each other in some way like a Heironymous Bosch piece! They also suggested I do a piece where all the sins are interacting with each other, which I had been considering doing before.

Before the meeting, my residency leader Christina, read my last blog post and my artist statement and sent me an email with a bunch of questions.  At the meeting she told me to think more about who my audience is.

In the meeting and in the email, she wanted to know about my obsession with using vintage materials.

The question of who my audience is, I am going to have to give some more thought.  I talked in my last post of how I had felt boxed into making art for children and I don’t want to make art for just kids. One artist said strongly,”if you continue to move in this direction with the series than you would have to do it without the kids.”

Christina mentioned that children’s movies had jokes that were more for adults than the actual kids, just to make the movie more tolerable for the adult stuck watching the thing, but that she didn’t want that for my art.  I don’t want that either.

As far as the vintage materials go, I use them because I love them.  I find them interesting and beautiful. Thats pretty much it!

A lot on my mind right now.

Thanks again for reading!

The Seven Deadly Sins

Originally posted February 23, 2017

Before I even got an art residency, I had already come up with an idea for what I wanted to work on during that time.  I am always looking for ways to push my skill set and have been trying to do larger collages. I normally work on a very small scale.  I also wanted to do a series as I have never done one before.

Since I am going out of my comfort zone I thought this residency would be perfect for getting critique from other artists in my residency group on what is working and what isn’t.

For my series I wanted to collage the seven deadly sins and use an animal to represent each one of the sins.

The seven deadly sins include: wrath, lust, gluttony, envy, greed, sloth, and pride.

I originally started with some notes and little sketches in my sketchbook.

I had some animals in mind for each sin.

I wanted to use lions to show pride.

I wanted to use sloths to show sloth, but I have been wrestling with the idea of using snails.

I had an idea to use squirrels for wrath and show them dropping bombs from the trees instead of nuts.

For envy I wanted to use cats.  I think a lot of the time cats have an envious look on their face.

I wanted to use pigs for gluttony, mice for greed and finally bunnies to show lust.

After I had done my sketches I went to work on Pride and Wrath.  When they were finished I was happy with them, but then I started working on Gluttony.

I was looking through all these magazines from the 40’s that had all these awesome food advertisements and I decided I had to make them apart of it.

When I finished with Gluttony I absolutely loved it, and suddenly I didn’t love “Pride” and “Wrath” anymore.  I didn’t see them as the same quality of work and I didn’t see the series as being cohesive.

I then worked on Sloth and I hated that too.

Then I recently started working on Lust.  This was a challenge.

Most of the work that I do is quite playful with some subversive humor thrown in.

A lot of people have said to me I should illustrate children’s books or that my collages would be great for decorating a children’s room.  All of this made me feel like my work as an artist was supposed to be kid-friendly and trying to make Lust kid friendly is extremely difficult. All my sketches just looked like a valentine’s day card, not the same thing!

I decided to push the kids out of the picture.  I thought, yea I agree my work is playful but since when is play just for kids?  I have continued to think about this more while working on this piece, and hope to develop this concept more in my future work.

This wasn’t the only hurdle when executing Lust.  After throwing out the valentine’s day concepts I came up with an idea to find some scandalous images of men and women from old magazines and replace their heads with bunny heads.  And for the background I was going to paint some abstract flowers that hinted at genitalia.

So there were some problems.

Vintage magazines have very limited scandalous photos and I found no scandalous photos of men whatsoever.  I felt I was very lucky to find the few Marilyn Monroe images that I did.

The abstract flowers as a background didn’t work either.  They weren’t very visible when the images were placed on top.

I could not catch a break.

I started sketching again, thinking, what is it that bunnies love? They love carrots, right? And so I came up with this!

I am now very pleased with both Gluttony and Lust.  With Lust it was a long time getting there but it was worth it.

This past week I have started working on greed and so far its going pretty well.  I am still in the collecting materials phase.

I want the mouse to be lying on a bed of coins, jewels, and riches!

Earlier this month, I met with my residency leader Christina Kelly and got her feedback on some of the pieces.

She pointed out that sloth seemed very busy, which is the opposite of sloth, so slow it down.

Wrath to her also did not look wrathful enough.  The squirrels have bombs but they don’t look like they have the intent to actually hurt anyone.

Next Tuesday is my next residency meeting and I have been chosen to present my series for critique. I hope to get some more feedback then.  Hopefully its not too painful.

Thanks for reading.