May 20, 2010

Recycled Art Show!

Things have been busy lately, on the digital art side. I haven't been submitting as much art work as I would like to local shows though. So when I saw this one I jumped on it. West Side Arts in Providence is holding a "green" exhibition, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. All of the art included was to be made with 100% recycled or repurposed materials (plus paint). 

I had a little lead time on this one, and I just felt like experimenting, so I created two pieces - and they will both be included at the show!!

Seasons  8" x 29" paper, found plant spikes, gloss medium and thread

Spiral  8 1/2" x 8" cork, pins, antique buttons and acrylic

A lot of the work on "Seasons" was just rolling up paper into enough tubes to create the tapestry effect. I grabbed all of my junk mail and then started with colors that jumped out at me. I tried to limit the slices of paper to be within large areas of color to intensify the color story. I made the tubes thinking that I would string them on these plant spikes that I salvaged from the garden.

The beginning of the project

There was a range of values within the blues that I found, so I started experimenting with a gradating series of tubes, and then started looking for more shades that made a nice transition. I really like the effect, and it made me feel like this had a wintry mood. It was a little bland, so I added a vertical stripe of color that still fit the theme. 

Playing around with shades of color

Once I had this much done, I liked the texture, and thought I would expand the piece to include four panels - one for each season. And so I went back to cutting out paper from junk mail, fashion catalogs, and old magazines I had saved. Using the first piece as a model, I repeated the gradating effect with colors that reminded me of each season - greens of spring, broken by a line of pink, like flower blossoms. The summer piece was based on warm sunny tones, with a watery blue contrast. The autumn piece was deep reds and gold like New England foliage.

My project workspace

OK - let me tell you, this took a freakin' long time to make all the little paper tubes. There are 260 of them in the final piece, and I made more than that as I tested and eliminated color gradations. Eventually I got the four panels worked out, and using some thread, strung the plant spikes together. I wrapped the individual rows with a perpendicular plant spike, again with thread. 

Sorting by color

That finished up "Seasons", and I'm happy with the result! "Spiral" was a more straightforward process - I sliced some corks that I had saved, and assembled them with some pins from my Grandmother's sewing basket. They were heavy-duty numbers, so they held the cork rigidly, similar to a DNA model. Once I had the cork lined up as I liked, I painted the front surface with metallic acrylic, and embellished a few of them with buttons my Grandmother had saved. It was a much quicker project, and really enjoyable in a different way - it was less color story and more of a sculptural form.

If you are in the Providence area on Friday May 21st, consider coming to the opening reception (6 - 10pm). The show runs through June 11th. Here's the Facebook event page. Enjoy!