Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Art from Trash
One of the struggles of an artist is discovering who you are artistically. Walking around Georgia O'Keefe's museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico I realised that she didn't find out who she was until later in her career when she landed in New Mexico. Her earlier works were muddy, of course there were pieces that were brilliant all throughout, but not until New Mexico did her paintbrush sing.
I'm still young in terms of my career and i don't think I have really found my voice as an artist. I do know that my experiences and present circumstances always inform my art. In Colorado I paint aspen trees and pine trees, in California I painted Joshua Trees, in Kenya I drew zebras and painted lobelia flowers. As a parent I find myself surrounded my children's images; the patterns on Emma's clothes, the illustrations in her books, the sets in the TV shows she watches, etc.
In Kenya I didn't have much available to me to decorate Emma's nursery. I got resourceful and I got creative. I made the letters of her name out of the wrapping paper and bags from her shower. I made paper mache flowers out of newspaper and balloons. I drew daisy designs on watercolor paper and laminated them.
I had to leave behind the paper mache flowers because I was pretty sure they'd get crushed in our luggage. So in coming home to the states I still had room to fill on her walls. Miriam gave me her old button box, and I had wrapping paper left over from Emma's first birthday party. So out of it came the idea for collage painting of pink daisies, in the three basic colors of her room pink, brown, and green. I love that I was using things that would otherwise be thrown away or long forgotten.
I was bothered by the fact that I have started making nursery art, how far I have fallen from my ideals in college. The more I thought about it the more I was okay with it. My goal in creating art is making beautiful objects that bring joy to people. I know that I make myself happy when everything in room flows and goes together. Hopefully I can create a piece of art for children that gives them that thing of magic. A painting that makes them feel special or gives them a starting point for their imagination. For right now it's where I am, I have a toddler. Sitting down to create a thing of beauty is time that I often don't have. This painting I could do, I could snag fifteen minutes here and there to cut out a flower or sew on a button. I tell myself I'm like Miriam Schapiro, remaking women's art into fine art, and maybe I am. Maybe right now I'm just thankful that my mom taught me how to embroider.
Posted above are the letters that i made for Emma and the new painting that I just finished.