Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rolling out the red carpet

The seedling of an idea has come into my mind. I have mostly played the unobserved voyeur in my search for subjects on the street, but I have wondered if I should attempt to interact with these strangers. The timid side of me is fearful of this notion. After recently being awarded a fellowship grant by the Somerville Arts Council (which was awesome!), I started to try to think about the community aspect of the grant. They like you to bring your art into the community. Instantly I thought about how I could bring my art to the streets, where it all begins for me. I would love to have an outdoor show where it looks like my subjects are walking off the canvas. Then came the thought of inviting subjects to participate.

Ok here goes my crazy idea - a red carpet in Union square, inviting passers by to walk down it and be photographed by me. This gives people the opportunity to opt - in, while still giving me the motion of them walking, hopefully still looking natural enough and I have the chance to ask them for information. To the right is my mock up of this scenario. I would have my tripod set up with a rapid sequence of shots in hopes to capture the right one. I can also gather some answers to questions about self-perception of dress. I was thinking I could ask something like "what do you think other's think of your outfit." After this all goes down, I head back to my studio for 6 mons or so, and come back to Union Square with an outdoor show of paintings based on that photography session. Feedback?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One day your in...

There are a lot of interesting theories on fashion. Ever-changing but cyclical, exclusive but common; every culture experiences this to a certain degree. Some say fashion has always been an attempt to separate the classes, introduced by the high society. This would in theory make it easier to spot out others of the appropriate income bracket. Then comes the trickle down: when bargain shops adopt the same styles, bridging the gap. Now it is time to reinvent the next trend.

In my observation, there are many people that adopt trends to fit in and others that adopt them to stand out. Clothing gives everyone the opportunity to identify their role, sometimes we consciously mold this persona, and sometimes it is subconscious. Some decide they must be the ones others look to for new trends. Others will keep a closet full of basics that will hopefully be consistently "acceptable." 

My earliest memories of caring about what I wore came around Middle School. This is a pivotal time for kids in their mico-societies, as they are quickly defined as cool or uncool, with heavy emphasis on their attire. In the seventh grade, I remember I made the decision to wear purple every day for that school year. I think I told myself that if I made one decision - color, maybe no one would focus on the rest. It is suffice to say, I didn't end up in the cool group...

Right: "School Uniform" Oil on canvas with Fleece, wool and suede. 24” x 42”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Traditional meets unconventional

Though my process of using fabric instead of canvas in this instance is unlike most, the remaining methods I use are as traditional as Renascence paintings. In my current piece I have stretched hot pink fabric instead of canvas then gessoed only his silhouette. (This is a bit painstaking but I love the finished look of being surrounded by a flat material background.) Next I work on my underpainting - sketching with two opposing colors of thinned paint.

Every oil painter works differently, but I usually start in with oils of high contrast and vibrant colors. I chose this photo of a fellow artist in my studio as a reference in part because of the excellent light and shadow effect of his drink. That and as you will see later, he is wearing an ant vest along with this hot pink ruffled shirt. (side note - he came to my opening wearing this, he must have wanted a painting to happen!)

After a few coats of coloring blocking in this style, I start to use liquin to glaze colors on. This gives depth to the piece, especially when dealing with skin tones. Below I did a thin coat of green all over - I like to go back and forth with greens and reds while I continue to work. The photo has a bit glare because it is very glossy when a glaze is wet.