Wednesday, September 21, 2011

interesting artworks

I discovered artist Jim Kazanjian last week and am in awe of his "photographs". I love their dream-like quality, their mysteriousness, their impossibility and their realness (after all, they are photographs...right?). This is where I found his work: Here's his website: (the red magnifying glass takes you to his bio). The top image here is my favorite (Untitled "Chateau")- I'd love to live in a hand-made, cobbled-together castle over a waterfall. :) The other two are "Untitled (Outpost)" and "Untitled (Backyard)".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

next project...

My next project involves this:
It's a page from the Book of Kells featuring the writers of the gospels in their symbolic forms (clockwise from upper left: Matthew the man, Mark the lion-yes, that's a lion, John the eagle and Luke the calf). The art in this masterpiece is utterly stunning, but I also have to include part of an email from my pa that perfectly encapsulates some of the more unusual stylization methods the artists used:
"I did have one observation. Didn't anybody back then know how to draw eyeballs?? The pictures are all great, but then it looks like they needed some coffee when they got to the eyes, and called over their 4 year old kid and said: 
Gawain: would thee likest to scribe some eyeorbs on yonder face?
Yes daddy! Should I make them widest open?
Sure lad...
(Goes and gets coffee...)
(Comes back...)
Look daddy look!!!
(Dad faints...)"

- - - - - - - -

I've noticed, and come to embrace, some things about my "process" of artymaking. I often start a new project with serious zest and energy and focus, and then hit a wall (I get sick of it, run into some sort of issue, etc.) at full speed and completely abandon working on it for weeks, or more likely, for months. The piece mentioned in the previous post is an example, actually. I think I started it around the beginning of the year, got tired of poking holes (gee, I wonder how that could've happened), and filed it away. I'd actually forgotten about it until organizing my studio a couple months ago. Then I was like, "Oh yeah! I should finish this!" and dove in once again. But it's rare for me to finish projects on the second go-around - usually I have to rediscover something every four months, work on it for a few days or weeks, and then abandon it again, over a period of a couple years before it's finally finished. 

I used to feel really guilty about this, but now I realize that it's important to give pieces (and ideas) time. Most of the time I abandon a piece because I hit a problem and can't figure out a solution- often I can't figure out the solution because I'm already thinking about the piece constantly. But if I set it aside, my brain can continue to process ideas consciously and subconsciously while I throw myself into another piece, and then I'm able to think about it without any sort of stress.
So all that to say that I spent a couple weeks engrossed in this project and have since abandoned it. :) Hopefully I'll pick it up again soon, but I have five or so other projects that I can work on in the meantime.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Illuminated Manuscripts

So I finished this piece a while ago: “Fruit of the Spirit II” is the title, I guess; it’s 19x24 inches, made by poking holes in paper with a bookbinding awl.

Bart and I have been thinking about ways of displaying it with some sort of backlighting. I think that would be cool!

Here are some of my thoughts behind it.
This is one interpretation of “illuminated manuscript” I’ve been thinking about recently- a literal interpretation.

There are a few characteristics about God and the Bible that have drawn me to creating images this way: The word of God is alive (Hebrews 4:12); God is beautiful (Psalm 50:2); God created the world and the universe and it follows an orderly pattern. The description of Scripture as being alive and God’s beauty and sovereignty spurred the idea to make images out of the individual parts of the text. In their symmetry and complexity they resemble snowflakes, flowers, microscopic organisms, galaxies; they are orderly without being static; they tumble and spin. With the added light, they glow like stars and other sparkly things (sparkly things!).
It is not immediately obvious that the shapes are words, but I think the intricacy of the piece may draw people in to explore it and try to figure it out (I strive for this in all my work). In a sense it forces the viewer (this is all hypothetical, since the only viewer other than myself to see the actual piece is Bart) to engage with the image because its meaning is not immediately apparent; we are also invited to engage with God and Scripture, to search them and to think about them.

As an artist who is a Christian, I want to present the Bible and the Gospel in a new way, focusing on the characteristics above: life, beauty, order. Because I don’t really enjoy drawing things “realistically”, and because I’m not really an abstract person either, and because I do love to use text as image, this seems like a good method for me.
I would be so, so honored if you left comments about this piece. Please feel free to ask questions and critique it. People rarely see anything I do if it isn’t a commission, and although Bart is super thoughtful and insightful in his observations and ideas, I would love input from others as well.