Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grayson Perry and the Importance of Place

I haven't had time or money to work on my own work lately, but as usual I am always reading about art and artists. This week I came across Grayson Perry in one of my readings for class. Perry is one of the winners of the Turner Prize, a prestigious award for British artists which he won in 2003. Here is a picture of him as he usually looks whenever he is in the public eye of the art world:

Pretty awesome, right? Perry's work is based off of investigating his own native English nationality. He makes large scale tapestries and pottery that evoke the history of English culture and weaves his own personal traumas about his upbringing into his chosen imagery.

    Print for a Politician

Perry's views on the subject of "place" resonated strongly with me. In an article entitled Lobbying for Beauty: Grayson Perry's Progress, Sue Hubbard quotes him as saying, "'I feel qualified to comment on Englishness. I am embedded in and representative of the culture. I couldn't make work about somewhere that I didn't know intimately. I have to have an emotional stake and understand the references.'" He also feels that traveling to gain inspiration for art is rather fake, and that it is only a chance to show off the traveling that you have done.

Perry's words reinforced a feeling I have been having lately about trying to figure out where to go after school. For a long time I was content on staying in the Midwest, but was told over and over that I should go to New York, or Berlin. My gut feeling is that I would not feel comfortable in either one of those places, and I am going to stand by my conviction that I do not have to go to a big art city to make a career out of my art major. Art is about life, and it is about embedding yourself in a culture that is not necessarily the most supportive of the arts. If I were to move to New York, my art would turn into art about New York. But I would feel like a foreigner trying to capture the essence of a city I don't understand. With Perry's words in mind I will go to a place where I feel comfortable after school and produce art that feels like the truth. I won't sacrifice genuine art work for a job that will maybe pay a little bit more and will maybe lead me to bigger and "better" things.

Friday, February 15, 2013

(Back) Into the Wild

This week I had a lot more success with achieving images that I am happy with. After a week of writer's block, I feel like I'm back on track. I have a more focused concept that is giving me more guidance when I create the images. I am now certain that these landscapes need to have a more specific location. Therefore I am basing each one of them (and will subsequently title them) off of a specific national park. They were already loosely based off of national parks, so luckily there is no need to recreate them. This week's park was Redwood National Park. I just watched a documentary about how environmentalists violently objected the cutting down of these magnificent trees in the 1970s and that 99% of the ancient redwood trees that existed in the entire world have been cut down. Therefore I felt that I should definitely include this park in my project. The material of the week: cinnamon sticks that I found in the "ethnic foods" section of Woodman's, oregano, and, of course, frosting (there are so many different types).

I am very happy with the way that this landscape turned out. The dilemma this week is to decide between natural and harsh lighting. Here's the two options:

I am drawn more to the second option because it looks more like a forest would look because not that much sunlight gets under a forest canopy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Honey Buzzin'

I'm slightly behind where I wanted to be this week, making progress nonetheless. Today I finished and photographed Landscape 4 which was inspired by the Badlands in South Dakota. I made almost the entire landscape out of this disproportionately large bag of cereal that I found at Woodman's called "Honey Buzzers":

I think it is absolutely insane that this size of cereal bag even exists. And the cost of it: around $3! Only in America could you find this kind of bulk size. Unhealthy cereal to feed a family of....6? Ridiculous. I am glad that I found a better use for this non-nutritional cereal. Here's Landscape 4 in the process:

I have decided that placing these landscapes onto backgrounds from "real" photographs of landscapes gives them the look that I am going for. Without them they just look too composed. That being said, I am having trouble with the Honey Buzzers landscape this week. I can't decide what to do with the background. Here's two that I like, but neither of them are completely right.

I think I like the image on the top more because if you compare it to an actual picture of the Badlands, it is similar in lighting.

I think I will try printing the top image to see how it looks and then decide from there.