Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sublime Man

In a previous post I talked about making an ATC sized assemblage for a trade.  This format intrigued me enough to make another one, with additions.  I started this one with a 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" block of 3/4" wood.  I decided that the featured find was going to be one of many gold shapes I have like this.

I am not sure where I got these but I think they either came off a belt or a necklace.  I drilled a hole through the wood to bolt it on.

Next I rummaged through my collection of tin types and decided I wanted to make this old dude my subject.  The idea here is that this is his death photo and this is an homage to him.  

I was hoping that these little tacks would help give a tombstone look to the piece.  

Then it is time to paint, paint, paint.  I added the hand reaching out to the viewer and some wire to help enclose the image.  

I thought the final touch was to title the piece so I found text in my collage materials that I felt was appropriate and the piece got its title:  A Sublime Man.

It was at this point in the process that it became evident that I was not going to need to make an ATC for the trade (after Denice laid claim to the last one).  So, that freed me up from the structure of the trade and I could embellish on the size.

I added a few nails to extend the definition and attached a crucifix to the hand to add meaning to the theme.  

And so, we have:  A Sublime Man.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Suffering of a Broken Heart Seen From This Point of View Changes Its Meaning

Back on August 28th, Doug Gelhaye, fearless leader of a Facebook assemblage group I belong to called Assemblage, Found Object & Mixed Media Artists said, "In the tradition of artist trading cards, what would you say to creating small, simple, mini assemblages to trading among our members? I have never done the ATC thing, but could someone kick in some ideas as to how this would work? I'm talking something that would only take a couple bucks to ship."

As this is the group's first attempt at a trade things are a bit challenging to get organized.  But I like these types of challenges to my creative juices, so I jumped right in.

I cut a 1/2" board into ATC sized shape--2 1/2" by 3 1/2".

I wanted a central core piece so I drilled a hole for a support bolt.  Then four holes went into the board for some 3" nails.  

This round shape is the back of a drawer pull.  

With the structure in place, I needed to texture the wood block so I reached for my favorite substance, DAP Easy Caulk.

From the book Art as Therapy by Alain de Botten and John Armstrong, I selected this quote for the title, and the theme, of this piece:

The suffering of a broken heart seen from this point of view changes its meaning

So what would the point of view be that could change meaning?  I decided that the heart had to go on the bolt and be hidden by something.

First, the hand.  Ironically, for another piece I was working on, I dropped one of the pair of porcelain arms I intended to use.  When it broke, it left me with the hand I needed for this piece.  Onto the palm went this heart charm I had in my stash.

I attached it to the bolt with Apoxie Clay.  Then it was time to paint, paint, paint.

The last step was the cover.  I knew by this time that I wanted a skeleton to ride on top of the nails so that the heart could be seen through it.  A transparency later and it was attached.  Because of the theme of the title, "changes its meaning," I decided that the final thematic effect would be not to have the hand hold the heart but rather to have the heart thrust at the viewer.

And so we have, The Suffering of a Broken Heart Seen From This Point of View Changes Its Meaning.

P. S. Then two things happened.  Denice, my lovely wife, told me not to give this piece away as (G*A*S*P*) she liked it enough I could hang it up in our house.  This does not happen very often. Next, my partner dropped out of the trade and nobody wanted my piece in trade.  SO, I now have this hung up in my house.

Here is the ATC I received from Nancy Viebrock (who took the time to make me something I would like--how nice is that!).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Objet Trouve Challenge 2014

Over on Facebook there is a group called Objet Trouve started by Roxy Lentz.  The subtitle of the group is "Find Four People, Find Four Ugly Objects, Share With Them, Make Art."  Here is the verbiage from her explanation of the group:  "Objet Trouve is a French way to say, 'I made something from trash.' Here is the plan. Form a group of four people who are artists of the same venue as you. They can be from a group you belong to, or a friend from a group on the internet. Then each person in the foursome finds an ugly object, divides it into four pieces, keeps one piece, and sends the other three pieces to the other three in the group. Then each of you in the foursome have one piece of four ugly things. Then, you make it into art. This not an organized project, it is just something for fun if you want to join in...The objects you receive can be altered in any way desired. You can add other materials to make the art. It may be impossible to use the objects entirely, but the point fairy gives extra points if you do."

Brenda Schweder from Now That's a Jig! tagged myself, Kelley Clarke and Cris Smith.

Let's Get Ready to Assemblage

In this corner, from Milwaukee, WI, weighing in at 2 oz., Gary Warren Niebuhr's Rusty Bent Nails.

In this corner, from Waukesha, WI, weighing in at 2 oz., Brenda Schweder's Pretty Little Plastic Pigs.

In this corner, from Oak Creek, WI, weighing in at 2 oz., Cris Smith's Pixie Faces.

In this corner, from  Iowa City, Iowa, weighing in a 2 pounds(!!), Kelley Clarke's Electrical Piece of Machinery!

Only Kelley really followed the rules by hacking up one piece.  The rest of us just found four versions of the same thing.

The first task was to try to think through a likely combination of these items.  That did not start out well and then came to a screaming halt.  I have no idea why this stymied me so much but the idea of how to combine these objects was very hard for me.  I kept trying to put the pixie head on the pig through the metal object to know avail.

Then, after months, I decided to get back to this project and finish it.  The key seemed to be introducing other elements to get me from concentrating only on the four objet trouves.  So, I went to my stash of found objects and hauled out this old hunk of wood.

In a Michael deMeng workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio I learned how to make wings out of steel wire, Apoxie Clay and pantyhose.  I attached these to the back of the wood with a big old bolt.

I made a decision to deal with the pig by hacking it in half.  Then, after sanding, it got a paint job in the style of the Oaxaca, Mexico, alebrijes, or wood carvings.

The pig went on the bottom of the board.  I am still not sure why.

Then I stuck the metal piece onto the board with nails and more Apoxie Clay.  This became the platform, or body, for the pixie head.

The pixie head was my undoing.  I tried a number of things with the little beast until my sister suggested that its cherry little cheeks would always make it look like a pixie.  That was it--I decided to alter the pixie from this

to this:

The head went on the body and now the idea of a vampire bat like creature preying on a poor pig came to the forefront.  The teeth are from my friend Robin's weiner dog Woody (who is still alive--he just went to the vet dentist once too often).

The top of the board was rather boring.  So I added an old buggy wheel and a nail with a round top to create a structure that makes me think of the radar that bats use.  

The nylon wings had two dangling remnants that now extended from the bottom of the piece.  They suggested legs to me so I wrapped some rebar wire around a pole to make the legs and then tied them onto the board.  

Normally, I am pretty theme orientated and that is what starts my piece.  This challenge worked the opposite for me--sticking all the stuff together led me to this form.  I am not all that happy with this piece I think because of the lack of a theme--for me it leaves it less then successful.  However, considering I had to spend months worrying about it in order to do this, I am happy with the way I finished it off.  So for your viewing enjoyment, here is

Object Trouve Bat Boy!