The artist that I heard speak was Debbie Grossman. Grossman went to Barnard college and worked a lot with film photography. She actually began doing things with film at the age of 13 to impress a girl, which I thought was kind of cool.
Her big and slightly controversial work is where she went through the U.S. archive and took pictures taken for the government and modified them so they really became her own. The town she chose to focus on was called Pietown. What she did was change the town into a place where all of the adults are women. Just by doing this she created her own narrative and story to go with an otherwise rigid and fixed point in time.
Some of the advice she gave all those present was that as an artist you must keep creating and even when so much else is happening in your life you must remember to keep going and do what you love. I thought that was pretty interesting since it is so hard to make it as an artist it is really challenging to keep up doing something you love with the other demands of simply staying alive.
What I really took from this talk was her idea of cheating death. She said that most people see a picture as an unmovable event and frozen forever. She wanted to really push the flexibility of a photograph and what could come from manipulation. Actually, Grossman has inspired me to dive into the world of photo manipulation and use some of the magazines that I found at my grandmother’s house to make my own art.
Our latest assignment was called “blind contour” drawing. This is when a person draws something they see without looking at what they are drawing. All of their attention is focused on the subject that they are drawing.
First, I drew my left hand with my right hand:
All of my drawings with my right hand of my left hand were very condensed. I pressed down on the paper hard and it would seem like all of my movements were very restricted and calculated. The tempo of the music also would sometimes make me a bit panicked and draw faster and harder. Here are some favorites from my right hand:
The next set of drawings were done with my left hand while using my right hand as a subject.
These drawings were far larger and it seems like there was less pressure put on the paper.They also looks significantly more like hands than the other set of drawings. Here are some of the highlights from the left hand:
The last part of the blind contour was to choose an object and use that instead of a hand. I chose the drain stopper thing in the sink. Here is one of the results, it looks kind of like a tentacle:
This is the end result of my Valentine. This valentine is inspired by pulp magazines and their crazy romance plots. Also, it goes out to the cheesy aspects of sensationalized love that people obsess over. The structure itself was inspired by the LOVE statue by Robert Indiana. Instead of the word “love”, the letters are put together to form the word “pulp”.
The structure of the letters is made of soda boxes and then covered in generic brand Play Doh. The structure was then covered in generic goo. Originally, the letters were meant to stand up just like the Love statue. This did not work out as I found out that generic play doh is really not prime for sculpting. So, the letters ended up lying down and facing up. Strips of cardboard have titles from actual pulp romance magazines written in the same pop style font. At first, they were scattered around the structure, but as the goo dried I decided to put more play doh along the top to look squishy and pulpy along with filling out the sculpture as a whole. After this, the strips appear to be getting swallowed and sinking into the structure. The goo, left really interesting stripes along the side of the form as well as causing bright purple pools at the bottom to make the sculpture look as if it is secreting some sort of sweet and disgusting fluids.
The generic barbie with the toilet paper dress is based on an actual pulp heroine named “Domino Lady”. There aren’t very many female heroines in pulp magazines, but she is one of them and is featured as kind of being stuck in the pulpy romance of everything.
The hearts sticking up everywhere were really just some extra fun and cheesiness. The champagne flute contains conversation hearts because it really wouldn’t be silly enough without them. I put the leftover goo in there as well, but after a while it got kind of nasty so I replaced that with just a flute of conversation hearts. All of the materials for this project were purchased at the dollar store to as homage to the magazines and how they were made very cheaply.
If I had an unlimited budget for this project I would simply buy a lot more materials from the dollar store. I would definitely make the structure much bigger and more gooey. I would probably also illustrate and make up my own covers for pulp magazines and pair them with the titles. There would also be tons more barbies swooning and stuff.
Well, here they are! The first chair is my completed chair after many long days in class. The second picture is my original chair that I drew outside of class. The second one I like to call “pretzel chair” because it really does look like it’s made out of pretzels.
My major frustrations when it came to the chair drawing in class was that the charcoal really did just get all over my hands. I don’t mind dirty hands, but after a while it made erasing very difficult and frustrating. Another difficulty was the slight curve of the back legs. I was perfectly content with just drawing a beautiful stiff chair and leaving it at that, but I knew it had to be perfect.
Throughout this process I really learned the value of taking one’s time and going step by step. When I used to draw as a child it was kind of like all in one go without really taking the time to focus on angles and corners. I relied mostly on just my eyes. Turns out, with a little help from string, everything is a lot easier and really begins to make sense. Once I got the basic shape of the chairs, it was much easier to make slight adjustments and mold the chair into how it really looked.
I honestly really enjoyed this project. I became pretty attached to my chair after spending quite a lot of time with it. It started to feel like we were really working together.
I went to visit my chair today. The light was making streaks on the page and with that I could see that there still was a lot of work to be done. The seat of my chair looks very much like the seat on the model, so that’s a good start. Unfortunately I’ve had to fix that base so many times that the legs are very confused. My next step is to finish the legs because they very badly need some attention. The skirt looks pretty good and even with the seat, but the whole thing needs to be a little thinner. My biggest challenge is probably going to be the tapering of the whole chair and the curve that needs to be visible with the back legs. I was hoping that I could just run away from the curves and keep my chair stiff but it would not look right without a little curve. I will return in an hour to really complete this chair, or at least get it as complete as I can.
Although I have not grown corn myself, it is the most recognizable feature of my home state: Indiana. In addition, corn’s adaptability is much like my own. Corn is grown all around the world and known by many names, but everywhere it thrives and adapts. I have been to many places and plan to go to more where I will thrive just like corn.