Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'atmospheric indiana'

mindy gave me an early christmas gift last year.  it was a tiny sketchbook, to be part of the art house co-op and the brooklyn arts library's traveling sketchbook show.  it was 32 empty pages of frustration.  it was a sweet gesture on her part, but when she gave it to me, we were in the middle of finishing everything up for the christmas season. i know she worried that i didn't want to do it.  i did want to do it.  i just couldn't think of anything i wanted to do.  i thought i should maybe turn it into a sculpture or make a pop-up book.  i couldn't decide if it should have a cohesive theme or just be random images.  should i blockprint in it?  i thought it could be a travel log (which it is to a certain degree).  i really didn't know what it could be.  i didn't make a mark in it.  by christmas we had resigned ourselves to the idea that it probably wouldn't get completed by the january 31st deadline, and certainly by the time we got back from new york, i'd give up on the idea of even remembering where the sketchbook was at.

a few days ago i decided i'd try to get it done.  what came out was a cohesive short story of the indiana sky in 32 spray painted backdrops and simple silhouetted images that i titled: 'atmospheric indiana.'  it is not unlike a travel log, but it's not a travel log.  it's an observation i guess.

i took the book apart and spray painted both sides of all 8 pages, then put the book back together with a needle and thread.  the pages all looked like the sky at different times of the day.  i started drawing images into the faded spray paint, recalling everything i drive through regularly.  i tried to mix 'traditional' icons, like the barn and the old windmill, with images of what is actually out there, like CFOs and traffic, all under hazy colorful skies.  the skies are beautiful, but those colors come from contamination in the air from the images in the foreground.  mindy's favorite was the fence row.  my favorite were the airplane contrails.

it was a lot of fun to do this project.  i'm happy that i finished it, and i'm happy with the finished piece.  it is simple and quiet, but maybe that can stand out amongst everyone trying to do something different and unexpected.  i know mindy is happy that i had fun with it.

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