We had to present papers on different alternative processes today in class. Obviously that warranted a boredom doodle.
Last night I finally bit the bullet and registered my domain name and attached it to my Cargocollective account. I think I stared at the checkout screen for a solid 5 minutes debating whether or not it was worth $70 a year to have my name as a .com, but made the argument that it does seem more professional on my resume.
Plus, c’mon, my name is a .com.
So, be sure to check out SarahDuyer.com (once Cargo has finally sorted everything).
But this step has really given me the kick in the ass that I needed to properly and consistently document my work. Here are a few projects that I have done for my alternative processes class this semester.
The first is a monocolor gum bichromate print. As laborious this process is, I really did enjoy it. The gum process really does have the potential to get a really beautiful print.
We also did a brief silver gelatin based project where we could choose between lumen or solarization printing. Because of my love for Man Ray‘s photographic work, I decided to try out solarization.
At first I found the process really frustrating as it is nearly impossible to make two identical prints, but once I got the hang of it I got some pretty interesting prints. The requirements for subject matter were open so I decided to do a self portrait diptych, trying to imitate film stills of creepy old horror films (kind of inspired by the work of Cindy Sherman). As always posing and photographing myself, especially in an unflattering manner, was strange but I thought that result was sufficiently creepy for my liking.
I think that I really liked this process mainly because it played off of traditional darkroom processes (which I really enjoy). For solarization the paper is exposed and put in the developer as usual, but once the image begins to appear in the developing bath the print is quickly taken out and exposed again, causing the inversion of certain areas as well as the interesting Sabattier effect in areas of great contrast (as you can see outlining my profile).
Also, while I was playing around with the process I completely accidentally made this print:
I was trying out a suggestion made by my professor to try briefly rinsing the print before it was exposed for a second time but I ended up with this crazy effect (that I think sort of resemble the insides of a heart valve) once I put it back into the developer.
(And if you look really close you can faintly make out the outline of the intended image).
For my final I had this crazy idea for a project with printing on ceramic mugs but the Lazertran that my professor gave me just came right off and ended up being a total mess. So now my new idea is to create some stereoscopic images and, if I have time, build a stereoscope.
But who has time for anything anymore?
We’ll see how it goes.
I feel like my days are beginning to blend together. One day of being sick turns into 3, then three weeks and all of a sudden January is almost over, along with an entire semester’s worth of classes.
Oh dear God.
January has sort of felt like a whirlwind and, frankly, not a great way to start off the year. Stress leading to sickness leading to more stress is not really how I pictured welcoming 2012, but I’m trying to make the best of it.
Today I spent most of the day (well, the parts of the day when I wasn’t sleeping in or at student health) working on my video project for my Interactive Media class (despite the fact that the media called for in the assignment is not at all interactive). As I have never really been a video person I opted for the stop-motion approach. Originally I was all pumped up to flex my claymation skills from last semester but found that my time constraints didn’t really allow me to do that.
So instead I went to the 5 & 10 and bought some plastic dinosaur toys and brightly colored modeling clay.
Seriously, if someone had told me that stop-animation was really just playing with toys I probably would have tried it a long time ago.
This is actually on the second animation I have done using objects rather than pliable clay. It’s definitely different to work with since I couldn’t really get a great range or motion out of the toys, but I think that added to the overall (intentional) cheesiness of the whole video.
I actually did a stop animation project back in foundations where I used toys, but they were all ones sewn by me (that had kind-of-cheating wire armatures in them):
But, overall, I had a lot of fun making it.
I gotta say, having no friends has its benefits: more time to shoot and edit on a Friday night.
Check it out below. The music is by a friend’s former Dino-themed folk/punk band, The Late Cretaceous.
As I have been sick the past three weeks I have ended up missing an unfortunate amount of work. So, you know, I’m mildly broke.
And decided to have a SALE over at my Etsy!
From now through Feb. 1 I will be offering 15% off your purchase with the code STREPONIT.
So go on, check it out. I have a bit of everything: sewn bags, pottery, prints, hair bows, stuffed animals, pins.
So tell your friends. Tell your friend’s friends. Tell those people who consider you friends but you don’t really consider them friends but you still go out for coffee with them every once in a while because you don’t want to offend that mutual friend that introduced you.
Despite a nastily persistent cold (which, according to that doctor at student health, has now developed into strep) and a few pulled muscles and a possible bruised rib due to excessive coughing, I have been diligently keeping up with projects this semester.
My alternative photo processes class has proven to be a wonderful new experience in image making. I have always had an interest in photography but far prefer the tactile aspects of darkroom and alternative processes to digital photography.
The processes aren’t nearly as reliable as standard silver gelatin but sometimes cool things come out of it. I just finished my tri-colo gum bichromate print. Here’s a shot of it in progress.
It’s really cool, it works kind of like a CMYK print, but minus the key layer and, again, not so reliable. I had one magenta layer almost completely wash off on me.Live and learn, though, right?
But here are scans of my final cyanotype and Van Dyke brown prints, I think they both came out pretty well.
Outside of class, though I still haven’t been able to do a lot of my own work. Recently I’ve been organizing files on my computer and all for my portfolio and my website and realize that almost all of it is from class assignments. No artist’s career is ever defined by his or her work in school and I feel like I haven’t yet found my specific style or subject or even medium that I work best in. Which, really, is pretty frustrating. Like most other students, I have trouble getting started on a project without any prompt or assignment set for myself. I should work on that.
But I did manage to finish knitting a hat that I gave to my friend as a going away present. I started it while in the car on the drive from Maryland to New Orleans over the last few days of 2011 but sort of put off finishing it. This is actually the first hat I didn’t have any pattern for at all, I just sort of made up the color decoration as I went.
And the friend seems to like it. Or at least he pretends to.
Seeing it finished reminded me of my algorithms painting I did last semester.
My original intention was to sew into the canvas as well but decided against it after painting. But I do think that I should try and incorporate more of my craft background into my “fine art” work.
Unfortunately the divide between “art” and “craft” is usually pretty large in the art world, with most artists considering “craft” to be beneath them. I don’t want to get into a whole discussion but that’s bullshit. Craft and decorative arts are just as important as “high art,” possibly even more so as craft artists typically have to master a specific skill or trade to work in their medium.
To be honest, if I could support myself that way I would love to solely make and sell crafts. I never really envisioned myself as the sort of artist who shows in galleries but love it when people tell me they like using a mug I made them or seeing a friend use a bag I sewed them years back. I like things I make to have use. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy fine arts, I do, but I think that the practicality of it appeals to me, especially that part of me that is on an ongoing quest to acquire all skills that could render me completely self-sufficient.
But, you know, whatever. I just like to make stuff.
Just a quickie. Saw this picture on tumblr and how could I resist?
(unfortunately that storm is only Hurricane Irene)
In accordance with my Interactive Media class, I have been taking some time to work on my web presence and image. I’ve been working all this past week and have come up with my new portfolio website:
I have been using Cargo Collective to help build it, and am surprisingly impressed with it. I was trying to achieve a simple, clean design, unlike my previous flash site. To update things I also took the time to re-photograph a lot of my work.
I have also been doing some pretty exciting things in my photo class. Unfortunately I don’t have any images of current projects but we are working on Cyanotypes and Van Dyke brown prints, both of which are a great experience. I’ve really missed having the darkroom as a part of my artwork and hope to do more after this class is over.
We also recently had an assignment to shoot a roll or two of medium format film on a toy camera. My Holga and I took a trip to West Chester where my friend Josh and I took some photos at a local abandoned warehouse. Most didn’t come out due to such low light but here are a couple of exposures that did come out.
Overall, though, life feels a bit uninspired art-wise. Both art classes I’m taking are more about technical abilities rather than the actual output. But I think I may just feel that way because I’m not able to make it into the ceramics studio. And it’s killing me.
I’ve got a jones for some clay. Need, ASAP.
So, I am currently taking the very condensed version of the Interactive Media class this winter term and today had my first experience with the dreaded Dreamweaver.
So far, it has not proven to be the stuff of dreams.
As I don’t know shit about programming or digital design, things got off to a rocky start. But as to my prof’s suggestion I basically just went to a site I liked the design of, stole the code, and modified it in Dreamweaver.
(yeah, that’s all Greek to me)
But, despite that, I gave it a few solid hours and came up with a working design. I am trying to make a new design for my portfolio website, an essential for any soon-to-be grad who really needs a job to pay off those student loans. I came up with a quick-fix portfolio website for my senior seminar class last semester but really hate the look and navigation of it.
(Also I really need to get around to re-documenting most of my work. A lot of those photos are pretty atrocious).
But here’s what I have so far:
It’s just the home page to start with and has a couple shots of my work that show in a loop. The SD “logo” is from the stamp that I stamp all my pots with.
(But most people just think it’s a dollar sign).
Pablo Picasso once said, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
(or at least those are the words attributed to him via BrainyQuote.com)
But I think he mostly got it right.
I never thought that art or being “an artist” was something that I wanted or was even a possibility until I was well into my college career. Throughout high school I excelled in the hard sciences which developed into a deep interest. I swapped free electives for “college-level” AP science and math courses, even earning the high school equivalent of a major in biology and biotechnology. Art had always been a major interest in my life but, as I never studied any medium formally, I never considered it anything more than a hobby.
Until I entered the University of Delaware the only art I had done in a classroom was memorably an elementary school watercolor interpretation of a Georgia O’Keefe (before I understood the vagina imagery, of course), taught by any generic aging hippie grad school art teacher, complete with dangly beads and plenty of paisley. (And, of course, I remember her fondly).
My first year was a long one. I was still undeclared but taking all of the necessary classes of a typical biology major. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I kept telling myself, “It’ll be a lot more fun when you get all of the boring intro classes out of the way.” But still, while taking a full course load complete with a chemistry lab scheduled at the prime time of 5-7 on Friday nights (awful, right?) I spent more time and had more fun taking a stupid 100-level non-major design class aimed at students wanting to minor in art. The next semester I took ceramics and was really done for. That studio became my second home. I was there early and stayed late every class and every weekend, usually so late in fact that I got pretty adept at not waking my roommate when I came back from a late night in the studio.
At that point it just made sense. Clearly science was no longer for me.
But, as I am writing this “introduction to the psyche of an art student” it’s not my art classes that come to mind. Back when I was applying for the honors program (which I guess I’m still in? They sort of forget about art majors since you can’t take honors art classes) I remember having to write on a topic that I learned about in one of my classes that I found particularly interesting or thought-provoking. I remember writing on perception and brain chemistry. The specifics of it escape me now but the concept is still one that stops me in my tracks every once in a while.
I like to think of us a flour sifters. Or, I guess, those pans that people would use to sift for gold, but that’s not really the point. Every touch, every image, every sound, and every single sense is translated and communicated, turned into chemical signals, and interpreted. Billions upon billions of signals pass across our neurons just to tell us what we see, how we feel, how we think. And those millions of little connections and chemicals within us define who we are at the very heart of being.
Insert life, sift, repeat.
So, it’s no wonder that we all see the world in different ways and interpret that vision in our own ways. Sure, works can be copied and artists can draw elements from other artists, but an honest artistic expression cannot be duplicated. I remember during my foundations year in the art department one of my professors told the class that all of our ideas have been done before, the only solution is to say “fuck it” and do it our own way.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Despite the bleak outlook for job prospects, despite the extra year of student loans I have to pay off, despite the dismal statistics, the lack of funds, and, sometimes, support, that is what I am going to do.
And I created this blog to try and document it all. (Well, that and it may or may not be part of a class assignment. Hint: it is). I am coming up on my last semester as an art student, about to leave my comfortable and well equipped studios where I have the support of the most incredible professors I have ever had the privilege of having (and no, I am not just saying that for my grade, Troy) to be dragged, violently kicking and screaming into the real world.
This shit is about to get real.